More and more research has raised concern over the dangers of concussions – one of the most common forms of head trauma – as many sufferers go on to experience persistent neurological symptoms throughout their lives.
Now, scientists have discovered a clue as to why mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI) can have such long-lasting health consequences.
In a study published in the journal Radiology, researchers found that white matter damage in the brains of people who had experienced concussions closely resembled the type of white matter damage found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. These findings suggest that concussions set off a chain of neurological events that can cause long-term damage to the brain.
“It’s not the hitting your head that’s the problem. It’s everything else that happens after that,” said lead study author Dr. Saeed Fakhran, assistant professor of radiology in the Division of Neuroradiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.