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Study: Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Measurement May Be Possible

by John Gomez | Last Updated: September 22, 2016
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

In recent years we have learned a lot about traumatic brain injuries and mild traumatic brain injuries.  This learning has contributed to a spike in the diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries in patients across the United States.  Prior to these advancements, many people who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury simply waited out the initial symptoms before returning to their routines.

That has all changed now that we are beginning to understand the potential dangers involved with this type of harm.  Despite these forward steps, we still lack a definitive, objective way to measure the effects of a brain injury.  Thanks to the conclusions in a study that was published recently, that could be changing soon.

About the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Study

The study appeared in a recent edition of JAMA Neurology.  Those interested in reading the study abstract can find it at this link.  Researchers studied 31 people overall, and 16 of them were Swedish professional hockey players.  Each of the hockey players either had or still were suffering from post-concussion syndrome, or PCS.  9 of the hockey players had endured PCS symptoms for more than one year.  The other 7 had returned to play within one year.  This group of athletes was compared to 15 people who had not dealt with a mild traumatic brain injury.

The study turned on the presence and amounts of two proteins in the subjects’ bodies.  These proteins were Neurofilament Light proteins, or NF-L proteins, and amyloid-beta proteins.  NF-L proteins are found in the white matter in the brain and amyloid-beta is found in the spinal fluid.  The researchers found the following:

  • Players whose PCS had lasted for more than a year had significantly higher levels of NF-L.  This indicated trauma on the brain tissue.
  • Players whose PCS had lasted for less than one year had about the same levels of NF-L as those who had not suffered any sort of mild traumatic brain injury.
  • Players with PCS had much lower levels of amyloid-beta in their spinal fluid than both the players who no longer had PCS and the control group.

These results could be significant for at least two reasons:

  1. They could lead to the establishment of some sort of objective measurement with regards to the damage done by even a mild traumatic brain injury.
  2. It’s possible that the players with lower levels of amyloid-beta in their spines had clumps of it deposited in their brains.  This can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Issues Outside of Professional Athletics

If these results are consistent with future studies, these findings would extend well beyond the world of professional athletics.  People who suffer even one mild traumatic brain injury could face a long road to recovery.  That’s why those who are injured in this manner by others need to make sure that they hold those responsible for this harm accountable.

Contact a traumatic brain injury lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys today for a free case evaluation if someone has done this to you or someone you love.

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