Researcher Highlights the Permanent Effects Repeat Concussions Have on Brain Function

Released: 25-Apr-2012 7:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
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Newswise — ATLANTA, Ga. – The overall research award at the 21st American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA was presented to Dr. William Meehan on April 24, 2012.

Dr. Meehan’s research looks at whether repeated concussions have a cumulative effect on learning and memory. His presentation titled “A Murine Model of Multiple Mild Concussive Brain Injuries and the Effects of Recovery Time on Cognitive Outcome” gave insight into his project. He assessed how brain trauma affected a mouse’s ability to remember the location of a clear platform in a pool of water. His most notable results show that the shorter amount of time between concussion leads to poorer cognitive outcome and can possibly lead to long-term deficits a year after injury.

“Our research suggests that the cumulative effects of repeat concussions on brain function may be permanent,” said Dr. Meehan. “Our current practice of removing athletes from play and allowing for complete recovery before returning them to additional risk likely reduces the effects of repeat concussions on brain function.”

Concussion management is a critical and controversial aspect of sports medicine. They are common, underreported, and often occur in young, healthy individuals. Symptoms include headache, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and poor balance. Research has the potential to help us understand the ability of the brain to heal after trauma and possibly prevent athletes from suffering long-term effects.

The conference featured lectures and research addressing the most challenging topics in sports medicine today including prevention of sudden death, cardiovascular issues in athletes, concussion, biologic therapies, and other controversies facing the field of sports medicine.

More than 1,200 sports medicine physicians from across the United States and 12 countries around the world attended the meeting.

Dr. Meehan is a board certified pediatrician who graduated from Harvard Medical School after attending Boston College. He has completed fellowship training in Sports Medicine and Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston.

The AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of sports medicine physicians whose members are dedicated to education, research, advocacy, and the care of athletes of all ages. Founded in 1991, the AMSSM is now comprised of more than 2,000 sports medicine physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.


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