9/30/18

Welcome to On The Mind, the series where we discuss prominent concussion-related news from the past several weeks. Today, we’re discussing three stories from throughout September, each focusing on a different element of concussions.

New York Times – For Kids With Concussions, Less Time Alone in a Dark Room

The CDC’s recent concussion guidelines highlighted the fact that, while brain injury research is progressing constantly, general public knowledge about concussions isn’t always strong. Even beyond brain injuries themselves being misrepresented, the average person may not know much about what should be done to treat a concussion, and what someone does know might be inaccurate or based on incorrect assumptions. Ideally, these guidelines provide a fact-based course of action for anyone trying to help a child who has suffered a concussion.

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CBS New York – NFL Hall-Of-Famer Taking Part In Study Using Saliva To Help Spot Concussions

Using micro-RNAs in saliva to diagnose a concussion is something we’ve talked about before on On The Mind, and research is continually being conducted to improve the technique. Joe DeLamielleure, a former NFL player, joined one of these saliva studies, hoping that his history of head injuries means he could be a valuable data source. DeLamielleure’s involvement in this study also highlights the issue that some athletes, particularly athletes who have had long careers, may have experienced concussions in the past that they did not recognize as such.

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Smithsonian – How Virtual Reality and Sideline Brain Scans Could Help Diagnose Concussions

Concussion diagnoses are difficult for a number of reasons. It’s difficult to be certain about a concussion quickly, many of the best indicators are unknowable if the injured person lies, many physical indicators of concussions are difficult to read. However, there are quite a few groups working on a variety of different methods to, hopefully, improve our ability to recognize (and ultimately treat) concussions. There’s no guarantee of a good quick test or a good quick fix, but progress is gradual and ongoing.

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