Entries in Brain Damage (2)


New Study Shows Soccer Players in Danger of Brain Damage

Comstock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- MedPage Today reports that a new study analyzing soccer players found that non-traumatic but repeated hits to the head could cause significant brain damage.

The study, headed by Dr. Inga Koerte of Harvard Medical School's Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, found that the average male competitive soccer player had a range of changes in the matter deep inside their brain, compared with that of a competitve swimmer.

Koerte and her team of researchers submitted a summary of the study in Wednesday's issue of the American Medical Association Journal, in which they said soccer players' frequent use of their heads to direct the ball could explain the head trauma, but also that "differences in head injury rates, sudden accelerations, or even lifestyle could contribute" as well.

There have been past studies done that show the long-term consequences repeated traumatic brain injuries can have, but scientists are still trying to determine the exact impact that less traumatic but frequent head injuries can have.

The study was conducted on a small group of young, elite soccer players in Germany all of whom were male, and all of whom had been playing soccer for an average of more than 13 years. The players underwent a series of special brain scans, called high-resolution diffusion tensor imaging, for in-depth analysis of brain matter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Study Provides Hope for Patients in 'Vegetative State'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA)-- New research using a portable electrode test suggests nearly 20 percent of those previously determined to be in a vegetative state may be consciously aware of their surroundings and even able to communicate through easily detectable brain signals.

The results, published Wednesday in Lancet, could offer some hope for many caregivers who face the complex decision to keep their loved ones in a vegetative state alive when they're awake but seemingly unaware.

"The assumption that they lack awareness is based on the assumption that there are no outward signs they are aware," said Adrian Owen, co-author of the study and Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at the University of Western Ontario.

Owen and his colleagues hooked 16 patients in a vegetative state to electroencephalography (EEG) machines and asked the patients to move their right hands and their toes, and repeated the test with 12 healthy patients.

The EEG showed brain activity in front part of the brain in three of the 16 patients -- the same area that showed activity in the healthy group -- which suggested they understood and responded to those commands.

The patients who responded varied so widely in their conditions that researchers said it's difficult to know what type of person may be more likely to display signs of consciousness. One of the patients who responded to the command had been in a vegetative state for nearly two years.

The test could potentially offer those who have been unresponsive but aware for many years a chance to express themselves, the researchers said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio