AS PROFESSIONAL sports teams struggle complaints for dementia as a result of concussion, new research shows damage to the brain can persist for decades after a head trauma. Learn why. Find out what to do.
“Even while you are symptom-free, your brain may additionally still not be returned to ordinary,” says Dr. Maryse Lassonde, a neuropsychologist and the scientific director of the Quebec Nature and Technologies Granting Agency.
Lassonde, whose paintings is supported via the Canada Foundation for Innovation, became a consultant with the Montreal Canadiens hockey crew, treating players with concussions for 15 years. She concurrently undertook research into the results of concussions on children and young athletes as well as older athletes.
To observe the results of concussions, Lassonde had athletes perform precise visual and auditory duties and also mapped their brains with the help of EEG and MRI gadget, similarly to checking out brain chemistry.
Her studies demonstrates that mind waves continue to be abnormal in younger athletes for two years following a concussion, and atrophy occurs within the motor pathways of the brain following a success.
The consequences of her work, that have been published within the journals Brain and Cerebral Cortex, have critical implications for the regulation of amateur and professional sports activities, the remedy of players and the importance of stopping violence in hockey and football.
Concussions Lead to Attention Problems
“That tells you that to begin with, concussions result in interest issues, which we will see the usage of state-of-the-art strategies together with the EEG,” says Lassonde. “This may result in motor issues in young athletes.”
The lengthy-term consequences in older former athletes are even greater continual.
By analyzing older athletes who suffered their last concussion 30 years earlier, and evaluating them to healthful peers who had now not experienced concussions, Lassonde found those who had suffered a head trauma had memory and attention deficits and motor issues just like the early signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Further trying out of these older athletes grew to become up a thinning of the cortex inside the same regions of the mind that Alzheimer’s ailment typically influences.
“This thinning correlated with memory decline and attention decline,” Lassonde says.
In addition to the recovery time required following a concussion, adds that young gamers who go back to their game too early and suffer a second concussion hazard severe brain damage or dying.
“If a toddler or any player has a concussion, they ought to be kept away from playing or doing any intellectual exercise until their symptoms abate,” Lassonde says. “Concussions should not be taken gently. We must clearly also comply with former players in scientific settings to make sure they may be now not ageing in advance in phrases of cognition.”
Getting Better: Tips for Adults
- Get plenty of sleep at night, and rest during the day.
- Avoid activities that are physically demanding (e.g., heavy housecleaning, weightlifting/working-out) or require a lot of concentration (e.g., balancing your checkbook). They can make your symptoms worse and slow your recovery.
- Avoid activities, such as contact or recreational sports, that could lead to another concussion. (It is best to avoid roller coasters or other high speed rides that can make your symptoms worse or even cause a concussion.)
- When your health care professional says you are well enough, return to your normal activities gradually, not all at once.
- Because your ability to react may be slower after a concussion, ask your health care professional when you can safely drive a car, ride a bike, or operate heavy equipment.
- Talk with your health care professional about when you can return to work. Ask about how you can help your employer understand what has happened to you.
- Consider talking with your employer about returning to work gradually and about changing your work activities or schedule until you recover (e.g., work half-days).
- Take only those drugs that your health care professional has approved.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages until your health care professional says you are well enough. Alcohol and other drugs may slow your recovery and put you at risk of further injury.
- Write down the things that may be harder than usual for you to remember.
- If you’re easily distracted, try to do one thing at a time. For example, don’t try to watch TV while fixing dinner.
Getting Better: Tips for Children
Parents and caregivers of children who have had a concussion can help them recover by taking an active role in their recovery:
- Having the child get plenty of rest. Keep a regular sleep schedule, including no late nights and no sleepovers.
- Making sure the child avoids high-risk/ high-speed activities such as riding a bicycle, playing sports, or climbing playground equipment, roller coasters or rides that could result in another bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. Children should not return to these types of activities until their health care professional says they are well enough.
- Giving the child only those drugs that are approved by the pediatrician or family physician.
- Talking with their health care professional about when the child should return to school and other activities and how the parent or caregiver can help the child deal with the challenges that the child may face. For example, your child may need to spend fewer hours at school, rest often, or require more time to take tests.
- Sharing information about concussion with parents, siblings, teachers, counselors, babysitters, coaches, and others who interact with the child helps them understand what has happened and how to meet the child’s needs.