Even minor injuries can cause concussion symptoms
New research suggests some people may experience concussion-like symptoms – headache, dizziness and cognitive impairment – after what may seem like a very minor head injury.
The study, published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, explained why people who experience minimal head injuries or injuries to other parts of the body experience incapacitating post-concussion symptoms. Researchers found that indicators of a concussion can be as common as a headache or irritability, and that experts should provide more of a broad definition of the injury.
“The symptoms we associate with post-concussion syndrome are highly non-specific and can be due to both other medical conditions as well as the stresses and activities of day-to-day life,” says Dr. Aaron Malina, neuropsychologist on staff at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “It is likely premature to attempt to explain many symptoms such as changes in sleep, vision, mood, thinking, etc., as all due to an inflammatory response, but it does present an interesting area for further study.”
Study authors are encouraging scientists to open up new lines of research into understanding the cause of post-concussion symptoms in the absence of obviously visible brain injury on conventional imaging and into the treatment of these symptoms by targeting signs of inflammation. People who have a very subtle genetic change in a certain inflammatory protein may have poorer recovery after brain injury.
For more information on preventing and detecting concussions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this guide.
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