By Dennis Thompson
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) — After-effects of a concussion continue to wrack the brains of young hockey players long after they appear ready to return to play, brand new research finds.
MRI scans of concussed teen hockey players revealed brain modifications persist for at least three months — weeks after various other symptoms resolve in addition to also also skaters are cleared to hit the ice, a Canadian research team found.
Scores on thinking in addition to also also memory tests — two current measures of recovery — returned to normal about 24 days (on average) following a concussion, the study findings showed.
These results indicate of which current clinical tests used to judge an athlete’s recovery could be much better, said senior researcher Ravi Menon. He’s a professor in addition to also also chair of functional in addition to also also molecular imaging with the University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine in addition to also also Dentistry.
“Clearly those tests are not very sensitive,” Menon said. “Basically, the standard concussion guidelines would certainly indicate the idea’s OK to go back to play, yet the MRI modifications show the brain is actually still damaged in addition to also also still trying to compensate.”
The study involved 17 Canadian boys, aged 11 to 14, who sustained a concussion while playing in Bantam hockey leagues.
Each player underwent standard thinking, memory in addition to also also balance testing following his concussion. The boys also had MRI brain scans — most had one right after the concussion in addition to also also another three months later.
All the players’ scores on thinking in addition to also also memory tests returned to normal before the three-month mark, ranging via 10 to 46 days.
yet the three-month MRIs showed they still had signs of widespread damage to their white matter. The white matter serves as the wiring of which allows different regions of the brain to communicate, Menon noted.
“We see damage to the wiring, in addition to also also as a consequence of of which we see a reduction inside the communication between the areas of which those wires connect,” Menon said.
The researchers also found various other areas of the brain trying to create brand new connections, apparently in an attempt to re-establish communication impeded by the white matter damage, Menon explained.
According to lead researcher Kathryn Manning, a doctoral student at the University of Western Ontario, “Those underlying white matter modifications persist.”
Menon said of which the results call for better clinical tests of which reveal whether the damaged white matter has fully re-established communications.
inside the meantime, parents should consider keeping their kid out of play a little longer following a concussion, he suggested. There’s some concern of which brain damage can stack up in a youngster who receives additional knocks to the head while recovering via concussion.
“Probably the more pragmatic approach is actually to not rush a kid who is actually 12 years old back into a game the minute their clinical score is actually normalized,” Menon said. “There’s no multimillion-dollar athletic contract on the line at This particular point. Give them a chance to rest in addition to also also recover, in addition to also also then ease them back in.”
of which stance is actually a little too conservative for Dr. Anthony Alessi, a Norwich, Conn., neurologist in addition to also also fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.
“The best clinical tools right right now are the tests we have,” Alessi said. “If your child feels they’re back to normal, they’re functioning well at school, neuropsychometric testing is actually normal, they’ve seen a physician in addition to also also all clinical indications are of which they’re normal, I’d let them go back in addition to also also play.”
The best way parents can protect their child is actually to interview coaches to make sure they can recognize a concussion in addition to also also place proper concern on removing injured children via play, Alessi said.
the idea also helps if there’s medical expertise on site.
Studies have shown the idea’s advantageous to have a certified athletic trainer working with the team, Alessi said. “Typically, a concussion will be recognized sooner in addition to also also there will be intervention sooner,” he added.
The study was published online Oct. 25 inside the journal Neurology.
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
SOURCES: Ravi Menon, Ph.D., professor in addition to also also chair, functional in addition to also also molecular imaging, University of Western Ontario Schulich School of Medicine in addition to also also Dentistry, Ontario, Canada; Kathryn Manning, M.Sc., doctoral student, University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada; Anthony Alessi, M.D., Norwich, Conn., neurologist in addition to also also fellow, American Academy of Neurology; Oct. 25, 2017, Neurology, online
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