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Sports Medicine Channel
Reported December 13, 2013

Even Mild Hits to Head Might Harm the Brain

(Ivanhoe Newswire) –Even when there is no concussion, blows to the head during a single season of ice hockey or football could affect the brain’s white matter and cognition, or memory and thinking abilities, according to recent research.

The study led by Thomas W. McAllister, MD, of Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis consisted of 80 concussion-free Division I NCAA Dartmouth College varsity ice hockey and football players who wore helmets that recorded the acceleration-time of the head following impact.  Researchers compared them to 79 non-contact sport athletes in activities like track, crew and Nordic skiing.  All of the players were assessed before and after the season with learning and memory tests and brain scans.

“We found differences in the white matter of the brain in these college contact sport athletes compared to non-contact sport varsity athletes. The degree of white matter change in the contact sport athletes was greater in those who performed more poorly than expected on tests of memory and learning, suggesting a possible link in some athletes between how hard/often they are hit, white matter changes, and cognition, or memory and thinking abilities,” Dr. McAllister was quoted as saying.

For more information, go to: http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2013/12/11/01.wnl.0000438220.16190.42.short?rss=1

SOURCE: Neurology, November 2013

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