Entries in Traumatic Brain Injury (3)


NFL, Military Partner to Reduce Concussions

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- They are known as the invisible injuries. They may not result in bruises, breaks, or even loss of limbs, but the results of concussions can be disastrous, leading to severe brain trauma as well as psychological and neurological disorders.

Concussions are injuries that the NFL knows too well. Six out of 10 NFL athletes have suffered concussions and nearly one-third reported having three or more, according to a 2000 study conducted by the American Academy of Neurology. In a more recent study, conducted in 2007 by the University of North Carolina's Center for the Study of Retired Athletes, 20 percent of the retired athletes who recalled having three or more concussions suffered from depression.

But while the consequences are pervasive, the problem is not unique to athletes. For General Raymond T. Odierno, chief of staff for the U.S. Army, concussions are often looked at as lesser injuries and are rarely discussed among his soldiers.

"We have to make them [the soldiers] understand that you have to come forward because it has to be treated," Odierno said.

For this reason, he and the United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) have partnered with the NFL to try and eradicate the stigma associated with head injuries. He met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last month to discuss how a future campaign will play out.

As a former football player himself at West Point, Odierno says there are more similarities than differences between a soldier and an athlete and believes that the partnership will assist in changing attitudes about head injuries.

"There's a lot of things similar to sports and the army: the teamwork, not letting your buddies down, not letting your teammates down, not letting your infantry squad mates down. ... I think part of it is the stigma of not letting your fellow player down or not letting your fellow squad member down," he said.

There have been nearly 230,000 reports of traumatic brain injuries among the soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to military figures. Head injuries have been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers and a study done earlier this year found links between head injuries and a degenerative brain disorder known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

While the military puts its troops through rigorous tests before, during and after deployment, it is hoping to pool resources with the NFL to better its technology, improve its marketing, and expand its medical information.

Since Odierno and Goodell's meeting, a group of players, coaches, analysts, and doctors have met at the Pentagon. The first session included Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark, Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and ESPN analyst Merrill Hoge. A meeting Friday sat players down with members of the Army and Marines.

Odierno expects for the formal campaign to be launched later this summer.

And while details of practical effectiveness have yet to be seen, Odierno hopes that the shared experiences of the servicemen and women and the athletes can spur collective change.

"I think that if they see somebody they know," he said, whether personally or know him from playing football willing to come forward, willing to say, 'I have a problem,' maybe it will make it easier for him to say he has a problem," he said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children Linger Years Later

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- Traumatic brain injuries in children are more common that you might know. Now, the latest research, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, finds that, in some cases, it can last a lifetime.
Traumatic brain injury -- or TBI -- is one of the leading causes of disability and death among infants and children, Medscape reports. It accounts for almost half a million visits to the emergency room each year by children 14 and younger, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, followed 40 children between the ages of 2 and 7, each of whom had suffered a severe brain injury.
Researchers found they had "persistent intellectual deficits" even 10 years later.        
Compared with a control group, the mean average IQ scores of the severely injured children were 10 to 26 points lower. That conflicts with many conventional medical opinions that young brains can overcome even serious damage.
These findings suggest that children with a severe brain injury may remain at a permanent intellectual disadvantage.
Some good news, though: that gap does not widen over time -- and children with milder injuries recovered completely.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dementia Risk More than Doubled in Veterans with Brain Injuries

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Veterans who are diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, or TBI, are at a higher risk for developing dementia, according to a new study released Monday.

Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco analyzed the medical records of over 280,000 U.S. veterans at least 55 years old,  searching for diagnoses of TBI and dementia and whether or not there was a link between the two.

They found that about 2 percent of older veterans had a diagnosis of TBI, and that for those who did, the risk of dementia was 2.3 times higher than for those without a TBI diagnosis.

The authors concluded that “the data suggests that TBI in older veterans may predispose them toward development of symptomatic dementia. And [the data] raise[s] concerns about the potential long-term consequences of TBI in younger veterans.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio