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A Blow to the Head: Understanding the Full Impact of Brain Injuries

Article / Review by on May 9, 2011 – 10:23 pmNo Comments

A Blow to the Head: Understanding the Full Impact of Brain Injuries

A Blow to the Head: Understanding the Full Impact of Brain Injuries

A blow to the head might elicit more than a two-day headache. As more and more studies probe the link between repeat concussions and potential long-term effects (such as an Alzheimer’s-type dementia), it seems there may be more to the injury – on a cellular level – than CT scans can show.

In fact, scientists recently confirmed that the brain of NFL player Dave Duerson was irreparably damaged due to multiple hits during his career on the football field (before committing suicide this past February, Duerson asked that his brain be studied, postmortem, at Boston University).

So, what do we definitively know about the long-term effects of concussion? What don’t we know? And what ground work needs to be laid before we can accurately test the dozen or so candidate drugs that are waiting in the wings to help brain-injury patients?

According to URMC expert Dr. Jeffery Bazarian, the key to better treatments is more accurate diagnoses. We’ll only be able to truly assess the effectiveness of new drugs, he says, if we can first paint a clearer picture of who has a concussion, and to what extent their brains have been injured.

To hear more about the state of concussion care and research, listen to Dr. Bazarian in the clip below.

You can learn more about two new research initiatives that Dr. Bazarian has recently undertaken – (1) NIH-funded work to build a blood-and-brain-function database (which could pave the way for a simple, diagnostic blood test for concussion), and (2) a study testing a small, hand-held device (resembling a smart phone!) that assesses the brain’s electrical activity after a blow to the head – by clicking here.

Have you or a loved one recently suffered from a sports-related concussion? Visit to learn how skilled physicians right here in Rochester can help put brain injury patients on the road to recovery.


*  The above story is adapted from materials provided by University of Rochester Medical Center


University of Rochester Medical Center

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