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HHS HealthBeat (February 21, 2014)

Not just concussion

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

It might take less than a concussion to do some damage to an athlete’s brain. At Indiana University, researcher Thomas McAllister saw evidence of damage in athletes who only got blows to the head in their sports.

McAllister looked at images of brain white matter before and after a sports season in college football and ice hockey players, and in track and field athletes, whose heads don’t get banged around as much.  

“These athletes were not diagnosed with concussion and yet the results suggested that there were changes in brain white matter.”

Athletes with greater changes in a region that links the left and right halves of the brain also did worse on memory and thinking tests.

The study in the journal Neurology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: February 21, 2014