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Study shows brain changes from concussions may linger

Louisiana residents who receive a concussion may show brain changes months or even years later according to a study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma in July. The study, which was conducted by researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, examined 43 student athletes. The 21 athletes in the study who had never had a concussion did not show any changes to their brain. Those who had suffered a concussion had changes in size, connections and blood flow in the brain.

One researcher in the study said that while these types of changes were to be expected in the brain of a person suffering from a concussion, the fact that they lingered months or even years later might be cause for concern. While shrinkage was much less significant than that seen in Alzheimer's patients, it still indicated that long-term effects of the injury might include depression and cognitive difficulties. The shrinkage was as much as 10 to 20 percent and was in the frontal lobe where speech and problem-solving occur.

Researchers say that the study should not discourage participation in college sports. Instead, they hope the knowledge gained will improve treatments for people with concussions.

When a person suffers a head injury, the results could range from a mild concussion to permanent disability. One issue with brain injuries is that there is a growing body of evidence that the full extent of problems cause by these injuries may not be immediately apparent. As a result, a person who has a traumatic brain injury or their family might want to speak to an attorney after the injury to determine the best course of action including how to document the injury in case some of its effects are delayed. Filing a lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident may be one possibility.

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