September 02, 2016
2 min read

Latest traumatic brain injury news, research for physicians

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Traumatic brain injuries were diagnosed in 280,000 hospitalizations and 2.2 million ED visits in 2010, and contributed to the deaths of more than 50,000 individuals, according to the CDC.

The injuries, most commonly caused by falls, blunt trauma, motor vehicle crashes and assaults, saw a 70% increase in ED visits from 2001 to 2010.

As detailed by the CDC, TBIs can range from severe, known as "an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury," or mild, known as "a brief change in mental status or consciousness." The majority of TBIs are mild and are often referred to as concussions.

According to the CDC, TBI symptoms typically involve four areas: thinking/remembering, physical, emotional/mood and sleep. Patients can have difficulty remembering new information, concentrating or thinking clearly, experience headaches, blurry vision, dizziness, balance issues, nausea, irritability, sadness or changes in sleep such as increased sleep or trouble falling asleep.

"Most people with a concussion have a good recovery from symptoms experienced at the time of the injury," the CDC detailed. "But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Those who have had a concussion in the past are also at risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover if they have another concussion."

The agency reported that rest is vital following TBI, as "it helps the brain to heal." They recommend avoiding some typical daily behaviors such as physical activities and computer use, and returning to them only when symptoms have reduced significantly.

Marking National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month, Healio Internal Medicine presents the latest news and research on TBIs for physicians.

Older patients recover from mild TBI more slowly than younger patients

Functional MRI demonstrated that postconcussion symptoms manifest differently in older and younger patients, according to data recently published in Radiology. Read more.

ImPACT computerized tests for postconcussion assessments gain FDA marketing OK

The FDA recently approved the marketing of a pair of medical devices, including one intended for pediatric patients, designed to assess cognitive functioning after head injuries or suspected concussions. Read more.

Mild TBI affects fear processing, post-deployment PTSD risk

Experiencing mild TBI before and during deployment was associated with changes in acquisition and retention of conditioned fear, and somewhat accounted for variance in the association between mild TBI and post-deployment PTSD symptoms. Read more.

New return-to-activity guidelines developed for military personnel with minor TBI

Recommendations for a new a six-step process of progressive activity for military personnel who have suffered a minor TBI prior to their return to active duty have recently been published. Read more.

Most patients first seek concussion treatment from PCP

For a vast majority of children, the first point-of-entry for concussion care is through primary care, and, as such, incidence estimates that are based solely on ED visits underestimate the burden of injury, according to data published in JAMA Pediatrics. Read more.

Pituitary dysfunction after traumatic brain injury may be an uncharacterized chronic disease

Tamara Wexler, MD, PhD, director of the Pituitary Center at New York University Langone Medical Center, gives her perspective on current research into TBI. Read more.

Concussion linked to greater academic dysfunction than extremity injury in students

Recent findings published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that students experienced greater academic dysfunction 1 week after concussion compared with students who experienced extremity injuries. However, 1 month after injury, there was no difference between the groups. Read more.

More than 40% of retired NFL players showed evidence of TBI

Investigators of an ongoing study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting found 42.5% of retired National Football League players evaluated had evidence of TBI as indicated by diffusion tensor imaging MRIs, demonstrating players had a significantly higher incidence of TBI compared with the general population. Read more.