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

ccident history and on clinical examinations that check for common concussion symptoms including headache, dizziness and behavioral abnormalities. There is no way of knowing from these exams who will suffer the most severe consequences and who will recover quickly. The results of the Einstein study indicates DTI scanning could provide a more objective way to diagnose concussions, determine whether brain injury has actually occurred following trauma, and possibly to predict the lasting loss of executive function. Executive function refers to the ability to make decisions, organize, set priorities and manage time.

The Einstein research involved 20 people known to have suffered concussions (18 from motor vehicle accidents and two from falls) and 20 healthy control subjects. The patients were recruited from one hospital emergency room; two of them had lost consciousness, but only for a few minutes. Both the patients and control subjects underwent conventional brain imaging with magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT) scanning, plus a battery of neuropsychological tests to assess executive function, which is often impaired after a concussion. All concussion patients underwent brain imaging and testing within two weeks of their accidents.

Experienced reviewers who evaluated the conventional MR and CT images of patients and controls found no abnormalities in either group. However, the neuropsychological results showed that the patients performed significantly worse than the controls on tests of executive function.

Patients and controls also underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a recently developed MRI-based imaging technique that can detect subtle changes in the brain by measuring the diffusion of water in the brain's white matter. DTI revealed abnormal brain regions in 15 of the concussion patients, while no abnormal regions were found in controls. Most importantly, the presence of major areas of structural damage in concussio
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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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Strong link found between concussions and brain tissue injury
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