From Medical Xpress:
Some athletes who experience sports-related concussions have reduced blood flow in parts of their brains even after clinical recovery, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). The results suggest a role for MRI in determining when to allow concussed athletes to return to competition.
Concussions affect millions of people each year and are especially prevalent in contact sports like football. Sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury among people between 15 and 24 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Decisions to clear concussed athletes to return to action are typically based on symptoms and cognitive and neurological test results. However, there is increasing evidence that brain abnormalities persist beyond the point of clinical recovery after injury.
To find out more, researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee studied concussed football players with arterial spin labeling, an advanced MRI method that detects blood flow in the brain.
“This measurement of blood flow is fully noninvasive, without radiation exposure,” said study author Yang Wang, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of radiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “We use arterial blood water as a contrast tracer to measure blood flow change, which is highly associated with brain function.”
Dr. Wang and colleagues studied 18 concussed players and 19 non-concussed players. They obtained MRI of the concussed players within 24 hours of the injury and a follow-up MRI…