Concussion: New Ideas

A study from Stanford published back in March raises interesting questions about the nature and even the definition of “concussion.”

The researchers equipped 31 football players with special mouth guards that measured head and brain movement. This gave the researchers the ability to see the impact of head hits on the brain directly.

In most situations, all parts of the brain moved in unison. In these cases, there was no evidence of concussion, regardless of the force of the hit.

After an average hit, the researchers’ computer model suggests the brain shakes back and forth around 30 times a second in a fairly uniform way; that is, most parts of the brain move in unison.(1)

In select cases, the brain parts didn’t move in unison. In these cases, the corpus callosum which connects the left and right halves of the brain shook more rapidly than the rest of the brain.

What we don’t know is how to prevent this movement of the Corpus callosum. Maybe with computer simulation, we can figure that out.

However, is it possible to have a non-impact concussion? For example from severe shaking with no head impact? We know that infants have been killed by severe shaking. Is that how that works? Could other devices product the same results in adults? For example, roller coaster, cars, motorcycles?

Right now, US judges and juries don’t know how to assess non-impact concussions, if or when the occur, or even impact concussions where there is no lasting external physical evidence. Which means that people with serious injuries don’t get justice under the legal system.


Sources:

  1. Kaveh Laksari, Mehmet Kurt, Hessam Babaee, Svein Kleiven, David Camarillo. Mechanistic Insights into Human Brain Impact Dynamics through Modal Analysis. Physical Review Letters, 2018; 120 (13) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.138101
  2. Stanford University. “Probing the complex nature of concussion.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180330171308.htm>.

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