According to a report by Education Week, the director of the University of Nebraska’s new Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior is planning for the development of a concussion detection tool that can be used on the sidelines of sports games. This will be especially valuable for detecting concussions in student-athletes minutes after the potential injury has occurred. The device will utilize a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine to track changes in brain activity.
“We can get an idea of what area of the brain is being involved in the process, whether the speed of processing is at the rate it should be,” the director said. “The different areas of the brain that normally integrate information quickly stop doing that, so that’s another way we should be able to pick up whether there is an injury or not.” Read the rest »
According to a FtLeavenworthLamp.com report, a forum sponsored by the National Football League (NFL) and the United States Army was held to tackle the serious topic of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The forum aimed to explore how to protect soldiers and players from the long-term affects of concussions and TBIs, with the NFL honoring its August agreement to initiate efforts to protect its professional athletes. During a panel discussion, Lt. General David Perkins stated that this significant health issue is “not an Army problem. It’s not a football problem. It really is a health problem across our nation.”
In order to protect those who serve the U.S., the Department of Defense (DOD) issued an instruction in September requiring any military service member who may have been exposed to a “potentially concussive event” to be pulled off duty for at least 24 hours and given medical clearance before returning to duty. Any further exposures require a longer stay and more evaluation before reporting back. Read the rest »
A new study published in a November issue of Neurology finds that people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury and lived in an area with exposure to a specific pesticide may be three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. For the study, researchers compared a group of 357 people with Parkinson’s to 754 individuals without the neurological condition who resided in an agricultural area in central California, and participants were asked to report any head injuries which resulted in a loss of consciousness for more than five minutes.
The researchers then mapped out the participants’ exposure to paraquats, a toxic herbicide. Ingesting this herbicide, which is primarily used for weed and grass control, can lead to serious health problems such as respiratory failure and organ failure.
The study determined that those with Parkinson’s disease were 36 percent more likely to report exposure to paraquat than those without the condition, and that individuals with Parkinson’s were twice as likely to have had a head injury. Ultimately, the greatest risk was found in people who reported both a head injury and exposure to paraquat. Read the rest »
A closed head injury is any injury to the head that does not penetrate the skull, and this type of injury is typically caused by blows to the head that may occur in traffic accidents, assaults, and falls. There are significant risks associated with a closed head injury, and very strong blows can lead to severe complications, such as intracranial pressure or brain swelling, which can lead to permanent brain damage if delicate brain tissue and nerve cells are destroyed.
There are several different types of closed head injuries that a person may endure, and the following is more information on each type:
A concussion is generally any head injury that temporarily affects the normal functions of the brain. Most concussions are mild and may not cause a person to lose consciousness, and immediate symptoms of a concussion can include headache, vomiting, nausea, and dizziness. Read the rest »
An autopsy report recently released concluded that Ray Easterling, a former safety for the Atlanta Falcons, had a degenerative brain disease widely connected to athletes who have absorbed frequent blows to the head. According to a report from The New York Times, Easterling began coping with depression and dementia about a decade into his retirement. At age 62, the former National Football League (NFL) player died as a result of a self inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Richmond, VA.
Performed by a medical examiner in Richmond, the autopsy found signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is a progressive degenerative disease. The medical examiner concluded that this was the underlying major condition that “accounted for Easterling’s difficulties.” Read the rest »
The stepson of mega recording artist Usher Raymond was seriously injured in an Atlanta Jet Ski accident and has been declared brain dead by doctors, according to an NBC New York report. Kyle Glover, the 11-year-old son of Raymond’s ex-wife Tameka Foster, was sitting on an inner tube along a 15-year-old friend which was being pulled by a boat on Lake Lanier in Atlanta. The pair was then struck in the head by a 38-year-old man on a Jet Ski, who reportedly was part of the group with Glover that was on the lake excursion and is a friend of the family.
Glover was unresponsive when he was pulled out of the water, and he and the 15-year-old female friend were airlifted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston for treatment.
The female friend was treated for a cut on the head and a broken arm. However, according to doctors, the 11-year-old suffered more critical injuries and has not shown any signs of brain activity since his admission. Doctors have declared the young boy brain dead as a result of his brain injury. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is investigating the tragic incident and officials are still unsure how the crash occurred, but authorities have ruled that alcohol was not a factor in the accident. Read the rest »
According to an ESPN.com report, scores of lawsuits involving thousands of former National Football League (NFL) players affected by brain injuries and concussions have been consolidated into one master complaint, which may result in a very costly case for the organization. Attorneys for the players filed the complaint in federal court in Philadelphia, and the lawsuit names more than 3,000 plaintiffs with an estimated 2,500 players among that total and the remainder being made up of wives filing for loss of spousal support. The master complaint is a standard part of multidistrict litigation which allows for the consolidation of lawsuits that have common factual issues and allows for more efficient handling of pretrial issues.
The master complaint accuses the NFL of failing to provide information linking football-related head trauma to debilitating long-term health issues, such as brain damage and irreparable memory loss. The official complaint charges that the NFL was aware of the health risks associated with repetitive blows that produce concussive and sub-concussive results, and that certain members of the NFL player population were at a significant risk for developing “long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result.” In addition, the complaint alleges that the NFL turned a blind-eye to the risks of repeat concussions and failed to warn players and enforce appropriate safety regulations to protect its players. Read the rest »
The heartbreaking news of the death of former NFL (National Football League) player Junior Seau is the latest in a string of suicides of former NFL players, and concussions may be to blame for these tragedies, according to a TMZ Sports report. The 62-year-old former player for the Atlanta Falcons shot himself in his Virginia home in April, and his surviving spouse filed a lawsuit against the NFL over its handling of concussion-related football injuries as she claims her husband developed symptoms of dementia following his football career. The wife asserts that the NFL intentionally concealed links between this type of injury and didn’t do enough to deal with the issue.
Dozens of similar concussion-related lawsuits have been filed against the NFL, but they insist the accusations are without merit. A 50-year-old former player for the Chicago Bears sadly died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest in his Florida home in 2011. Prior to his suicide, the former pro athlete texted his family asking that his brain be used for research, which is likely why the gunshot wound was in the chest. Months later, Boston University research neurologists discovered he had a neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions. Some are speculating this may also be why Junior Seau took his life, who also shot himself in the chest. Read the rest »
Finding the Link Between Soldiers, Football Players, and Brain Injury
According to a CNN.com news report, research has revealed that the same dementia-like disease found in the brain tissue of several NFL (National Football League) players is the same shown in the brains of four U.S. veterans who were exposed to explosive devices and other types of head trauma. The suggestion made by the new data is that there is a common thread binding those exposed to traumatic brain injury, whether it occurs on a football field or in a war zone. Two of the military cases and a group of mice studied concurrently by researchers suggest that a single exposure to an IED (improvised explosive device) may instigate the cluster of abnormal protein in the brain that characterizes the disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine excised thin slivers of brain tissue from four U.S. veterans who suddenly died and compared the tissue to two other groups: three amateur football players and a professional wrestler with a history of concussions. Read the rest »
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, created to increase the public’s awareness of the causes and life-altering consequences of brain injuries, as well as highlight the need for prevention, research, and education.
Brain injuries permanently impact the life of the victim by decreasing cognitive and physical abilities, and can be caused by a number of things, such as car accidents, physical assaults, medical conditions, and slip-and-fall accidents. Read the rest »