Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Adding Injury to Insult: the Long Tail of Mild TBI

The Washington Post reports on a study in Brain (January 28) that looked at the long term effects of concussions in athletes (the study evaluated individuals who suffered a concussion in college, not infants, so extrapolate the effect of "mild" pediatric TBI with care - see the study by Anderson, also in Brain, which found that children who sustained early brain insults before age 2 years recorded global and significant cognitive deficits, while children with later EBI performed closer to normal expectations, suggesting a linear association between age at insult and outcome).

It's a long tail.

It is surprising that long term studies haven't been done before: one more indication that there is much to learn about "mild" TBI.
Concussion's Effects May Linger for Decades

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Athletes who suffer a concussion can experience a decline in their mental and physical processes more than 30 years later, according to a Canadian study that's the first to identify these kinds of long-term effects.

The researchers examined 40 healthy, former university-level athletes between the ages of 50 and 60.  Of those, 19 had suffered a concussion more than 30 years ago, and 21 had no history of concussion.

Compared to those who were concussion-free, the participants who'd been concussed only once or twice in their early adulthood showed declines in attention and memory, as well as a slowing of some types of movement.

Most research focuses on the immediate, post-concussion period and on deciding when it's safe for a concussed athlete to return to play. The long-term effects of concussion tend to be overlooked.
AANS - Facts about concussion.

CDC - Facts for Physicians about Mild TBI

Report to Congress on Mild TBI (2003)

GAO - Report on Mild TBI Screening for Veterans (2008)

No comments: