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Elizabeth Quinn

Think It's Just a Bump on the Head? Think Again.

By October 26, 2007

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The latest research on the effects of head injuries continues to support the fact that concussions, and even mild head injuries, can cause lasting damage to the brain.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine reported finding structural changes in the white matter of the brains of patients with reported head injuries, with the most severe head injuries showing the most structural change. These structural changes correlate to cognitive deficits in thinking, memory and attention.

The researchers also found that some mild head injuries caused damage only to the outer surface of the nerve (the myelin sheath of an axon), which may be able to be repaired but more severe head injuries caused damage to the axon itself, which may not be as easily repaired. If an axon is severed, it is unlikely that it can repair itself.

Read more about this study:

Learn about myelin and nerve structure

What to Do If You Suffer a Head Injury During Sports
This is critical information for anyone who plays a sport where a head injury is possible. The take away message is that if you suffer any head injury, stop playing and sit out the rest of the game. Even if you think it's a mild bump on the head, you may have minor damage that can be repaired. If you return to play, you risk making that mild injury a permanent one.

Read More about Concussions

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