Navigation Links
Study shows first link between altitude and concussion
Date:12/9/2013

AURORA, Colo. (Dec. 9, 2013) A new study shows that high school athletes playing at higher altitudes suffer fewer concussions than those closer to sea-level, a phenomenon attributed to physiological changes in the brain causing it to fit more tightly in the skull.

"This is the first time any research has linked altitude to sports-related concussion," said Dawn Comstock, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health and co-author of the study. "It appears that when you are at altitude there may be a little less free space in the skull so the brain can't move around as much."

The study, first-authored by David Smith, MD, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, was published recently in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

The researchers analyzed concussion statistics from athletes playing multiple sports in 497 high schools from across the U.S. with altitudes ranging from 7 feet to 6,903 feet with 600 feet being the median. They also examined football separately since it has the highest concussion rate of high school sports. The numbers came from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance System directed by Comstock.

The results showed a 31 percent decrease in concussion rates among all high school sports played at altitudes of 600 feet and above. Concussion rates for high school football players at these altitudes decreased by 30 percent.

"We did see significant differences in concussion rates with elevation changes," Comstock said. "This could mean that kids in Colorado are less likely to sustain a concussion playing sports than kids in Florida."

While reasons for these declines are unclear, the study suggests a possible explanation - as one ascends in altitude blood vessels in the brain undergo mild edema or swelling. This swelling along with other physiological changes cause the brain to fit more tightly in the skull so that it cannot move around as violently when struck. Sports-related concussions usually result from the brain colliding with the skull following a blow to the athlete.

"Vasogenic edema in the brain leads to increased extravascular water," the study says. "These two adaptations would also lead to a tighter packaging of the brain with increased blood cell content surrounding the brain."

Comstock said the next step may be to look at professional sports.

"If this study is correct, we should look to replicate our findings in the National Football League," Comstock said. "For example, if the Broncos play the Chargers in San Diego or the Dolphins in Miami they should experience more concussions than when they play here in Denver."

The incidence of concussion among high school athletes has grown tremendously. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the annual incidence of sports-related traumatic brain injury in the U.S. at 1.6 million to 3.8 million with many more going undiagnosed. In a recent 10-year period there has been a 100 percent increase among 8 to 13-year-olds and a 200 percent increase among 14 to 19-year-olds in sports-related emergency room visits for concussion.

Comstock said sports equipment hasn't changed in decades and this study could possibly pave the way for the design of new protective equipment to reduce concussions.

Interestingly, scientists found that putting mild pressure on a rat's jugular vein increased pressure on the brain and reduced injury from concussion by 83 percent.

"There are many possibilities here," Comstock said. "But we are just beginning to understand the connections between altitude and concussion."


'/>"/>

Contact: David Kelly
david.kelly@ucdenver.edu
303-503-7990
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Life Technologies Collaborates with Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding on Species Biodiversity Study
2. Penn Medicine team reports on study of first 59 leukemia patients who received cell therapy
3. Study reveals gene expression changes with meditation
4. Argonne partners with Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to study Chicago River microbe population
5. Feeding by tourists compromises health of already-endangered iguanas, study finds
6. Sharks prefer to sneak up from behind, study shows
7. University of Tennessee study finds crocodiles are cleverer than previously thought
8. TGen, Barrow and PCH receive $4 million grant to study genetic basis of brain injuries
9. New study identifies 5 distinct humpback whale populations in North Pacific
10. Study documents catastrophic collapse of Saharas wildlife
11. Arctic study shows key marine food web species at risk from increasing CO2
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/6/2017)... , Jan. 5, 2017  SomaLogic announced ... "Digital Life Alliance" established by iCarbonX, the ... to build a "Global Digital Health Ecosystem that ... a combination of individual,s biological, behavioral and psychological ... agreement between the companies, SomaLogic will provide proteomics ...
(Date:1/3/2017)... LAS VEGAS , Jan. 3, 2017 ... announced the introduction of Onitor Track, an innovative biometric ... and men, showcasing this month at the 2017 Consumer ... . In the U.S., the World ... affect more than two-thirds of adults who are overweight ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... and GENEVA, Dec, 20, 2016   Valencell ... sensor technology, and STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a ... of electronics applications, announced today the launch of ... for biometric wearables that includes ST,s compact ... Valencell,s Benchmark™ biometric sensor system. Together, SensorTile ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... 18, 2017  Market Research Future published a half-cooked research report ... to grow at a CAGR of 12% during the period 2016 ... ... the abnormal cell division without any control. These abnormal cells have ... These cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , Jan. 17, 2017 The ... at a CAGR of around 7.5% over the ... 2025. Some of the prominent trends that the ... incidences of diseases & graft transplant surgeries and ... Material the market is categorized into immunomodulatory biomaterials, ...
(Date:1/17/2017)...  Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH) ... and earnings conference call will be broadcast live over ... a.m. Eastern Time.  A news release detailing the quarterly ... a.m. Eastern Time the morning of the conference call. ... via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor Relations website at http://investor.zimmerbiomet.com ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , Jan. 17, 2017 Research and ... "Molecular Diagnostics - Technologies, Markets and Companies" to ... ... has increased remarkably during the past few years. More than ... molecular diagnostics and 342 of these are profiled in the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: