Scans Spot Brain Changes in Patients With Concussion Syndrome
Findings could lead to improved detection methods, researchers say
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 21, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers who identified brain changes in people with post-concussion syndrome say their findings may lead to improved detection and treatment of the disorder.
Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, which occurs in 20 percent to 30 percent of people who suffer mild traumatic brain injury, include headache and memory and concentration problems.
In this study, published online Nov. 21 in the journal Radiology, researchers conducted MRI brain scans of 18 healthy people and 23 people who had symptoms of post-concussion syndrome two months after suffering a mild-traumatic brain injury.
The MRI scans were done when the participants' brains were in a resting state, such as when the mind wanders or while daydreaming. It is believed that the resting state involves connections among a number of brain regions and that the default-mode network plays a major role, study author Dr. Yulin Ge, an associate professor in the radiology department at the NYU School of Medicine in New York City, said in a journal news release.
Previous research has shown that the default-mode network is altered in people with brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, autism and schizophrenia.
This study found that communications and information integration in the brains of the people with post-concussion syndrome were disrupted among key default-mode network structures, and that the brain had to tap into different areas to compensate for this impaired function.
Through their ongoing research, Ge and colleagues hope to identify a biological feature, or biomarker, that can be used to monitor post-concussion syndrome progression and recovery, and to assess the effects of treatment.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers advice about concussion recovery.