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Sports Concussion : Immediate, short- and long-term effects on the brain

Sports Concussion : Immediate, short- and long-term effects on the brain. Gary Solomon, Ph.D., FACPN Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Psychiatry, and Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation Co-Director, Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center

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Sports Concussion : Immediate, short- and long-term effects on the brain

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  1. Sports Concussion: Immediate, short- and long-termeffects on the brain

    Gary Solomon, Ph.D., FACPN Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Psychiatry, and Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation Co-Director, Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center Team Neuropsychologist, Nashville Predators Consulting Neuropsychologist, Tennessee Titans
  2. Disclosures/Competing Interests I receive consulting fees from the Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. I am involved in beta testing a new version of ImPACT and receive free use of the test during the testing; I am a member of the ImPACT Professional Advisory Board and am reimbursed for travel expenses to Board meetings This presentation is not endorsed by any organization with which I am affiliated.
  3. Objectives:1. Overview of the brain2. What happens in the brain during a concussion--- immediate, short, and long-term effects3. How long it takes for the brain to recover from a concussion4. Potential long-term effects a. Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) b. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
  4. Average Adult Human BrainWeight = 1350 g (~3 lbs.)Width = 140 mm (5.6”)Length = 167 mm (6.68”)Height = 93 mm (3.72”)Brain = 2% of Total Body WeightAverage Adolescent Brain is Smaller
  5. We can think of the brain as a computer it is composed of hardware (structure) and software (function)
  6. Hardware (Structure) = brain tissueSoftware (Function) = Electrical and chemical processes ongoingwithin the brain tissue that allows us to sense, think, feel, and act
  7. Sports related concussions rarely cause a hardware problem (structural injury)When structural injuries do occur, they are usually due to tearing of a blood vessel (resulting in an epidural or subdural hematoma) or in some cases, tearing of nerve cells (traumatic axonal injury)However, these structural injuries are extremely rare in sports.This is why the structural CT or MRI scan is normal 99+% of the time after a sports concussionSports concussion usually causes a disruption in brain function (software problem), which leads to the signs and symptoms described previouslyThe disruption in brain function hasbeen termed “the chemical cascade”
  8. The Chemical Cascade of ConcussionBlood flow to the brain is reduced immediately after a concussionThe brain operates on 2 kinds of fuel: glucose and oxygenThe brain gets glucose and oxygen from the blood supplyBut because the brain is getting less blood flow after a concussion, the brain is not getting the typical amount of fuel (energy)The difference between the energy the brain is getting and what the brain needs to operate fully results in an energy crisis and the symptoms
  9. PET Scans in Head Injury (Glucose)Marvin Bergsneider, M.D., and David Hovda, Ph.D.UCLA School of Medicine
  10. fMRI Scan (Oxygen)Drs. Mark Lovell and Micky Collins University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterDrs. Victoria Morgan and Megan Strother, Vanderbilt
  11. The short term effects of concussion are age- andpossibly gender dependentYounger athletes take longer to recover than older athletes, probably because the brain is not fully developed physically until about age 23Many studies have indicated that females may take longer to recover than males, although a recent VSCC study did not support thisOther factors affecting the duration and intensity of symptoms after a concussion can include concussion history and co-existing disorders such as ADHD, learning disabilities, sleep disorders, psychiatric illness, and migraine headaches
  12. To get back to the computer analogy, when we have a software problem, we usually shut down the computer and re-boot it.After a concussion the brain typically repairs (re-boots) itself.But how long does it take?
  13. First, there is no FDA-approved medication for concussion, although many drugs are used to treat the symptoms of concussionIn general and on average, the short term effects of concussion resolve within: 7 days for professional athletes 7-10 days for collegiate athletes 7-14 days for high school athletes 7-21 days for younger athletes>90% of athletes with sport-related concussions recover within a month
  14. Second Impact Syndrome (SIS)However, if an athlete does not recover fully from an initial concussion and sustains another concussion before the first has cleared completely, then he may be at risk for Second Impact Syndrome (SIS)SIS is a very rare condition and typically occurs in teen aged malesSIS has never been reported in females or in professional athletesSIS occurs when an athlete sustains an initial concussion that is unrecognized, not reported, or has not fully healed
  15. The brain remains in a vulnerable state from the initial concussion (energy crisis)The athlete then sustains a second concussion which causes additional chemical changes in the brain that lead to severe brain swellingThe brain is encased in a hard skull and can only expand within certain limitsSIS usually results in permanent disability or death
  16. __________________________________________________________Effective January 1, 2014
  17. Sports Concussion: Long Term EffectsPost-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
  18. Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)The term was first used by an article by Strauss and Savitsky in 1934Multiple definitions abound and vary somewhat, but all involve a constellation of symptoms after a blow to the headSymptoms common to most definitions include a persistence of the initial concussion symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, forgetfulness, poor concentration, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and noise, frustration, sleep disturbance, difficulty thinking, nausea, depression, increased emotionalityThe diagnosis is made anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months post-injury
  19. Most of the scientific research on PCS has been done on civilians, and more recently, on military personnel experiencing blast injuriesStudies of PCS in athletes are now being conductedIn general, less than 10% of athletes are diagnosed with PCSMost of these athletes recover within 6-12 months, although there is a small group that remains symptomatic longerPCS typically involves multiple factors and usually requiresa multi-disciplinary treatment approach
  20. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)Punch-Drunk Syndrome: Martland, 1928, JAMA
  21. CTE has receive a resurgence of interest due to several professional athletes (especially football players) being diagnosed with CTE after deathThe current definitions of CTE are somewhat different but common elements include the appearance of a tau protein in brain tissue, found on autopsyMood, behavioral, and cognitive changes occur priorto death
  22. CTE is an evolving area of study and merits close scientific investigation with well designed, well controlled research CTE, like most neurodegenerative disorders, is a multi-faceted brain disease that involves a variety of genetic, athletic exposure, and lifestyle factors
  23. “…a cause and effect relationship has not yet been demonstrated between CTE and concussions or exposureto contact sports.”
  24. Thanks to all of you for being here today, and special thanks to Rawlings for their support
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