Study Shows that Brains of College Athletes with Prior Concussions Show Long Term Changes

A new study just out shows that University athletes with a history of concussions had deleterious changes in size, blood flow, and connections in their brains months, and even years, after the injury.

The study used advanced MRI to examine the brains of 21 male and 22 female athletes, of which 21 had prior concussions, and 22 had no history of concussions.

They found the athletes with a history of concussions had:

  • Brain shrinkage in the frontal lobes, the part of the brain involved in such things as decision-making, problem solving, impulse control and the ability to speak fluently. The brains of athletes with prior concussions showed a 10 to 20-per-cent reduction in volume compared to those with no concussions.
  • Less blood flow (25 to 35 per cent) to certain areas of the brain, mainly the frontal lobes, which are very vulnerable to injury because of their location at the front of the brain. Reduced blood flow is associated with a longer recovery
  • A greater number of concussions was associated with reduced brain volume and blood flow
  • Changes in the structure of the brain’s white matter, the fibre tracts that connect different parts of the brain

Read the full study here.

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