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Strong link found between concussions and brain tissue injury
Date:8/24/2009

August 24, 2009 - (BRONX, NY) - Concussions, whether from an accident, sporting event, or combat, can lead to permanent loss of higher level mental processes. Scientists have debated for centuries whether concussions involve structural damage to brain tissue or whether physiological changes that merely impair the way brain cells function, explain this loss. Now, for the first time, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have linked areas of brain injury to specific altered mental processes caused by concussions.

The research, described in the August 26 edition of Radiology, provides compelling evidence that concussions involve brain damage. The findings suggest that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), the brain scanning method used by the Einstein scientists, could help in diagnosing concussions and in assessing the effectiveness of treatments.

"DTI has been used to look at other brain disorders, but this is the first study to focus on concussions," said Michael Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., associate director of the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center (MRRC) and associate professor of radiology, of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and of neuroscience at Einstein and lead author of the study. "It proved to be a powerful tool for detecting the subtle brain damage that we found to be associated with concussions."

Each year, more than one million Americans sustain a concussion (technically referred to as mild traumatic brain injury). Concussions in adults result mainly from motor vehicle accidents or falls. While most people recover from concussions with no lasting ill effects, as many as 30 percent suffer permanent impairment undergoing a personality change or being unable to plan an event. A 2003 federal study called concussions "a serious public health problem" that costs the U.S. an estimated $80 billion a year.

At present, diagnosis of concussions is based primarily on the patient's a
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Contact: Deirdre Branley
sciencenews@aecom.yu.edu
718-430-2923
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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