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RSNA: Reduced Blood Flow in Brain Persists Post Concussion

But preliminary study doesn't determine whether that is cause for concern

head injury

TUESDAY, Dec. 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Athletes who suffer a concussion can show signs of reduced cerebral blood flow, even after their symptoms have subsided, a new, preliminary study suggests. The findings were scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4 in Chicago.

The research team studied 18 concussed players and 19 non-concussed players utilizing arterial spin labeling, an advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method that detects blood flow in the brain. They obtained MRI of the concussed players within 24 hours of injury and again eight days after the injury, comparing the results with the control group.

The researchers found that concussed football players typically showed reduced blood flow in the brain eight days after the injury. That was despite apparent clinical recovery. The non-concussed players had no change in cerebral blood flow between the two time points.

"In eight days, the concussed athletes showed clinical recovery," study leader Yang Wang, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of radiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, said in a Society news release. "However, MRI showed that even those in clinical recovery still had neurophysiological abnormalities. Neurons under such a state of physiologic stress function abnormally and may become more susceptible to second injury."

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