Do's and don'ts when dealing with concussions

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According to unitypoint.org, concussions, or traumatic brain injuries, are the eighth most common injury in sports.

Along with causing confusion, headache and sensitivity to light, concussions could lead to even more serious problems down the road.

But there is a new way to help you after that first injury.

Sports, falls and car accidents all have one thing in common. They cause concussions. Together, they result in nearly 10 million a year.

"When somebody hits the head, it changes the brain electrical activity pattern," BrainScope chief science officer Leslie Prichep said.

According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, five of every 10 concussions can go unnoticed, leaving patients at greater risk.

Leslie Prichep, PhD,

"If we know, for example, that there's still some abnormality in the brain and that they would be subjecting a brain that hasn't healed yet to the potential of another hit," Prichep said.

Experts recommend rest and avoiding visual and sensory stimuli and strenuous mental tasks.

Once you have one concussion, that increases your risk for post-concussion syndrome, which could lead to depression and memory problems.

Avoid Advil, ibuprofen and other pain relievers, as you may increase the risk of bleeding.

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan are testing a new laptop device that uses magnetic stimulation for 20 minutes to minimize concussion symptoms. They have begun testing it on rats and saw their cognitive ability rise. The next step is human trials.

Slower neurological recovery, dementia and even chronic traumatic encephalopathy are just some of the possibilities concussed patients could run into later on.

RESEARCH SUMMARY
CONCUSSION DO'S AND DON'TS REPORT #2673

BACKGROUND: One major cause of death and disability in the United States is from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The number of TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths increased by 53 percent from 2006 to 2014. In 2014, an average of 155 people died each day from injuries that include a TBI. Those who survive a TBI can face effects that last a few days, or the rest of their lives. The effects of TBI can include impairments related to thinking or memory, movement, sensation (vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (personality changes, depression). These issues not only affect individuals but also can have lasting effects on families and communities. A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from "mild" (a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to "severe" (an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury). Most TBI's that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions. (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html)

CONCUSSION TYPES AND TREATMENT: Concussions are graded as mild (grade 1), moderate (grade 2), or severe (grade 3), depending on such factors as loss of consciousness, amnesia, and loss of equilibrium. In a grade 1 concussion, symptoms last for less than 15 minutes. There is no loss of consciousness. With a grade 2 concussion, there is no loss of consciousness but symptoms last longer than 15 minutes. In a grade 3 concussion, the person loses consciousness, sometimes just for a few seconds. The seriousness of a concussion dictates what kind of treatment you should seek. If you have suffered a grade 1 or grade 2 concussion, wait until symptoms are gone before returning to normal activities. That could take several minutes, hours, days, or even a week. If you have sustained a grade 3 concussion, you should see a doctor immediately for observation and treatment. If the concussion was sustained during athletic activity, stop play and sit out. The brain needs time to properly heal, so rest is key. Repeat concussions cause cumulative effects on the brain while successive concussions can have devastating consequences, including brain swelling, permanent brain damage, long-term disabilities, or even death. You should not return to normal activities if you still have symptoms. (Source: https://www.webmd.com/brain/concussion-traumatic-brain-injury-symptoms-causes-treatments#1)

CONCUSSION TEST BREAKTHROUGH: The FDA has designated a portable test for diagnosing and potentially predicting outcomes in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) patients for its Breakthrough Devices Program, which fast-tracks the development, testing and approval of new devices that have the potential to change medical care for life-threatening or debilitating conditions. The device is a blood test to determine if they've had a concussion and will be compared with both computerized imaging of a patient's brain function and clinical diagnosis tools to test its accuracy. "We don't have any tools right now that are really good or accurate for diagnosing TBI," Dr. Damon Kuehl, an emergency medicine physician at Carilion Clinic and associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, said. "The real goal is an accurate and quick test that can be accessed by trained professionals right at the moment of injury or later on," continued Kuehl, who will be working on a trial of the new test. (Source: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/concussion-test-designated-fda-breakthrough-device-minimize-long/story?id=63837306)