Brain Blood Flow remains Slower than Usual after Concussion Symptoms Fade, Study Finds
Even after concussion symptoms fade, the blood flow to the brain remains slower than usual, a new study found.
For this study, the researchers led by Dr. Yang Wang, an associate professor of radiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, analyzed the effects of concussions on 18 football players. The average age of the sample was 18. The athletes underwent brain scans at two points, which were one day post-concussion and one week after. The team used an advanced type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at the blood flow to the brain on day eight.
The researchers found that even though the athletes' concussion symptoms had already disappeared by the eighth day, their blood flow to their brain was still slower than normal. Since the athletes appeared to have been fully recovered, the experts are unsure of whether or not slow blood flow could be detrimental.
"We don't have enough data to tell parents or doctors what to do at this point," Wang, who acknowledged that the study sample was small, said.
Typical symptoms of a concussion include nausea, dizziness, confusion, headache and irritability.
"Right now, the best road back from concussion is a gradual return to physical and mental activities," expert Kenneth Podell, who was not a part of the study, said reported by HealthDay via Philly.com. "Parents should seek help from a professional with expertise in concussion."
He added that parents should not take eliminate sports in general for their children as a preventive measure.
"Sports, including contact sports, have a lot of value," he said. "And keeping kids out of contact sports won't eliminate their concussion risk."
The study's findings were presented at the Radiological Society of North American yearly meeting in Chicago.