Article published by : Max Health on Monday, November 12, 2012

Category : Neurological Disorders

Brain Injuries And Recreational Sports: Concussions Can Still Age The Brain

A new study added to a rapidly expanding knowledge base regarding the long-term effects of brain injuries. The study looked at whether non-professional athletes who suffered brain injuries in high school or college showed any lasting problems later in life. By concluding that brain injury victims' brains resembled those of older uninjured men, the study suggests that injuries can cause abnormal brain aging.

This research is a reminder that Pennsylvania parents should pay close attention to potential concussions and other traumatic brain injuries when children play recreational sports.

Contact Sports And Concussions

Brain injuries have surged into public awareness in the context of professional sports. Over 2,000 NFL players are suing the football league for failing to respond to known dangers. The players allege that repeated brain injuries caused debilitating conditions like early onset dementia, depression, and severely disabling cognitive difficulties.

Although the scientific evidence appears to agree that repeated concussions can damage the brain, less is known about the long-term effects of less-frequent injuries. Professional football players hit their heads all the time - but what about people who suffered only one or two concussions as recreational athletes earlier in life?

New Research Warns Of Possible Brain Aging Effect

This recent study sought to answer that question. It scrutinized the brains of middle-aged men who played recreational sports while in college 30 years ago. The results, though subtle, suggest that concussions resulted in brains that appeared to have abnormally aged.

By combining electronic imaging with other measurements, the researchers looked at the volume and functioning of various areas of the brain. This included testing short- and long-term memory abilities. Men who suffered concussions consistently demonstrated older looking brains, with indications of thinner tissue and slower brain metabolism. Concussed brains appeared to be biologically 10 years older. The 50-year-old men had brains resembling 60-year-olds who did not have head injuries.

One of the researchers described one possible explanation for these results by saying that concussions might speed up the normal deterioration that occurs as the brain ages. Of course, brain injuries vary widely depending on the severity of the impact and the location of the brain affected. Some victims may not show any noticeable symptoms while others could face extreme consequences from only a single injury.

While these findings are relatively subtle compared to the dramatic potential consequences of traumatic brain injuries, they do underscore the need to treat concussions with great care. Multiple concussions do have a real impact on the brain and can gradually reduce functioning over the course of a lifetime. If brain injuries become a serious impairment, a victim may need to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

Attorney Kenneth Hiller , of The Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, PLLC, is dedicated to helping disabled clients obtain the Social Security benefits they need and deserve.



By: Max Health

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