Sports medicine & Kinesiology

Female athletes seek specialty care for concussion later than males

Female athletes seek specialty medical treatment later than male athletes for sports-related concussions (SRC), and this delay may cause them to experience more symptoms and longer recoveries. Researchers from the Sports ...

Neuroscience

Concussions and school-age children: What parents need to know

"Jamal" is a 16-year-old boy who sustained a concussion in a skateboarding accident in July. He was diagnosed in the emergency room. Jamal initially had headaches, nausea and sensitivity to light and noise, but he appeared ...

Neuroscience

Concussions linked to erectile dysfunction in former NFL players

Former professional football players who have experienced concussion symptoms, including loss of consciousness, disorientation or nausea after a head injury, are more likely to report low testosterone and erectile dysfunction ...

Pediatrics

Concussion risk is higher in female athletes

With schools starting back for the year, many young athletes are returning to sports—and with that comes the possibility of injuries, including concussions.

Neuroscience

Hit your head, lose your sense of smell

It's long been known that people who suffer a major concussion can lose their sense of smell temporarily and also develop affective problems, such as anxiety and depression. Now scientists have found that's true even for ...

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Concussion

Concussion, from the Latin concutere ("to shake violently") or the Latin concussus ("action of striking together"), is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. The terms mild brain injury, mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), mild head injury (MHI), and minor head trauma and concussion may be used interchangeably, although the latter is often treated as a narrower category. The term 'concussion' has been used for centuries and is still commonly used in sports medicine, while 'MTBI' is a technical term used more commonly nowadays in general medical contexts. Frequently defined as a head injury with a transient loss of brain function, concussion can cause a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms.

Treatment of concussion involves monitoring and rest. Symptoms usually go away entirely within three weeks, though they may persist, or complications may occur. Repeated concussions can cause cumulative brain damage such as dementia pugilistica or severe complications such as second-impact syndrome.

Due to factors such as widely varying definitions and possible underreporting of concussion, the rate at which it occurs annually is not known; however it may be more than 6 per 1,000 people. Common causes include sports injuries, bicycle accidents, car accidents, and falls; the latter two are the most frequent causes among adults. Concussion may be caused by a blow to the head, or by acceleration forces without a direct impact. The forces involved disrupt cellular processes in the brain for days or weeks.

It is not known whether the concussed brain is structurally damaged the way it is in other types of brain injury (albeit to a lesser extent) or whether concussion mainly entails a loss of function with physiological but not structural changes. Cellular damage has reportedly been found in concussed brains, but it may have been due to artifacts from the studies. A debate about whether structural damage exists in concussion has raged for centuries and is ongoing.

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