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Increased Activity Weeks after Brain Injury Indicates Compensation for Rest

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When a person suffers a concussion, he may suffer from irregular brain activity over the first 24 hours after the injury. However, just a few weeks after the injury, there may be increased levels of brain activity, and this indicates that the brain may be compensating for the period of rest.

Those were the findings of new research that was recently reported in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. The researchers based their findings on an analysis of the recovery rate after brain injury of 12 high school football players. They used functional MRI scans of the players who had suffered concussions, and compared the scans with those of 12 teammates, who had not suffered a brain injury.
The players who had suffered a concussion also underwent brain scans at 13 hours after the injury, and again seven weeks after the injury. Similar procedures were followed for the players without any brain injury as well.
The researchers found that at 13 hours into the injury, symptoms clearly signified lower level of activity, including lower reaction time and reduced mental abilities. The brain scans clearly revealed decreased brain activity in the right hemisphere of the brain.
At seven weeks, these very same players showed improvement in their brain activity, which was indicated by normal reaction time and improvement in their mental abilities. When scans were taken at seven weeks into the injury, they revealed that a few weeks after the concussion, there was more brain activity in the brain circuits in the right hemisphere of the brain, compared to the players who had not suffered a concussion.
This sort of increased level of brain activation compared to a player without a concussion several weeks after the injury may indicate that the brain is trying to compensate for the recovery period after the injury.   This information could prove useful to doctors and therapists when they make the decision about whether a player should return to the sport after an injury.

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