What's New in Sports-Related Concussions?

In This Issue
Concussion in the News
July 25, 2017
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System examined 202 brains from deceased football players. 177 of those brains had chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head. 110 out of 111 brains belonging to ex-NFL players were diagnosed with this disease. The majority of former college (56 percent), semipro (56 percent) and professional (86 percent) players exhibited severe pathology. Neuropathologist Ann McKee, the researcher credited with some of the most high-profile CTE diagnoses, cautions that the study has some limitations and doesn't attempt to identify the prevalence of CTE. The brains studied were mostly donated by concerned families, which means they weren't random and not necessarily representative of all men who have played football. However, according to McKee, the study provides "overwhelming circumstantial evidence that CTE is linked to football."
This is a rising issue among the football players therefore; NIH is carrying out the torch in finding the cure. To support this great cause, NFL pledged $100 million for concussion-related research and they will continue to work to improve the health of current and former NFL athletes. While the disease can only be diagnosed post-mortem, the researchers are trying to find a diagnosis ahead of time to prevent CTE.  
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Summer is at full throttle, and for many, that means sun, fun, and tons of outdoor activities and sports! Those of us working at The Philadelphia Concussion Center at Magee Rehabilitation would like to bring you up-to-date on the latest concussion research and news. Below you will find links to articles about developments in concussion-related diagnosis, prevention and testing.
The more we know about concussion, the more we can do to protect our athletes from long-term head injury. We hope you will continue to turn to The Philadelphia Concussion Center at Magee Rehabilitation to keep you informed. Please feel free to contact us for any of your concussion needs.
The Latest Concussion Research
December 22, 2016
Although an estimated 1.6 - 3.8 million sports-related brain injuries occur annually in the United States, no single test has been validated to reliably diagnose a concussion. A group of researchers from Northwestern University may have found the answer in the auditory system. They tested the hypothesis that concussions compromise listening, particularly the ability to understand complex signals such as speech. To prove this theory, they recruited 40 children (20 who had experienced concussions and 20 matched controls who had not). They tested each child with speech-evoked frequency-following responses (FFRs) and they discovered that children with concussion exhibited a specific neural profile. Neurophysiological responses partially recovered to control levels as concussion symptoms abated. With more research it is possible that this approach will have practical potential as a scalable biological marker for sports-related concussion and other types of mild traumatic brain injuries.
January 05, 2017
A Canadian study published in the journal JAMA found that return to physical activity within 1 week of concussion may decrease the likelihood of persistent postconcussion symptoms (PPCS) in the pediatric population. The study included 2,413 children and adolescents between age of 5 and 18 years. Each of the participants filled out a questionnaire about their physical activity and rated postconcussion symptoms. According to researchers, those who participated in early physical activity had a significantly lower risk of persistent postconcussion symptoms at day 28.

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If we can be of service for post-concussion assessment, baseline testing, or educational presentations, please contact  The Philadelphia Concussion Center at Magee Rehabilitation  at 855-587-BRAIN (2724).