Concussions are a common type of brain injury. A person in New Jersey might suffer a concussion if they fall and hit their head, through a sporting injury or in a car crash. In fact, over 42 million individuals annually suffer concussions. Some concussions are mild, but others present long-term complications. However, one recent study found that some concussions can affect a person even decades after the initial injury.
New study sheds light on long-term effects of concussions
A study was performed by the Brain Aging and Behavior Section of the NIA Intramural Research Program. The study examined brain scans of 51 individuals who suffered a concussion 20 years ago and compared this data to brain scans of 150 people who never had a concussion. Neuropsychological tests were also performed on all participants to ascertain whether their cognitive abilities were impacted over time.
The results showed ongoing damage, but no test performance differences
The results of the brain imaging of the individuals who had suffered concussion showed that there was more noticeable white matter damage in their brain. The study also revealed differences in brain activity in concussed participants, as well as brain tissue loss. However, the results of the study did not show any performance differences between participants who suffered concussions and those who did not.
Researchers did note that those with past concussions would want to keep an eye out for any new cognitive changes, because the areas of the brain that were damaged due to the injury are vulnerable to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Other studies have shown the possibility of a connection between concussions and degenerative diseases such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Brain injuries are complex and further research is needed
As this shows, brain injuries such as concussions are complex. This recent study is interesting, but further research is needed to fully understand the long-term complications those who suffer from concussions may experience.