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Long-lasting impact of mild concussion explored in new research Main Image

Long-lasting impact of mild concussion explored in new research

Fri 01 Sep 2023

Researchers find that around half of people with concussion still have symptoms six months later

Researchers from the University of Cambridge find that around half of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) survivors still have symptoms six months after injury.

Comparing the brain scans of 108 mTBI patients and 76 healthy volunteers, the research team found that around half (47%) of the patients were not fully recovered at 6 months . The most common symptoms were fatigue, poor concentration and headaches.

mTBI patients were also found to have increased connectivity between a part of the brain called the thalamus and the rest of the brain. The thalamus is normally responsible for integrating sensory information and relaying it around the brain. The observed hyperconnectivity was interpreted by the researchers as the thalamus trying to overcompensate for anticipated damage and was suggested to be the root of the long-lasting symptoms that patients with mTBI experience.

Long-term symptoms were also associated with areas of the brain rich in key neurotransmitters, for instance patients who experienced depression or irritability showed greater brain connectivity with areas of the brain rich in the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Reference: Woodrow, R., Winzeck, S., Luppi, A.I., Kelleher-Unger, I.R., Spindler, L.R.B., Wilson, J.T.L., Newcombe, V.F.J., Coles, J.P., CENTER-TBI MRI Substudy Participants and Investigators, Menon, D.K., & Stamatakis, E.A. (2023). Acute thalamic connectivity precedes chronic post-concussive symptoms in mild traumatic brain injury. Brain, 146(8), 3484-3499.


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