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Microstructural Alterations in Brain Visible Following Concussive Injury

Brain injuries, like chronic pain, often are described as ‘invisible injuries’ as proof of their reality often escapes diagnostic imaging.  In a revealing breakthrough findings were published this week in the Journal of Neurosurgeory showing that the brain indeed is physically altered following a concussive injury and these subtle changes are detectable on dMRI imaging.  The article dealt with hockey players however are equally applicable regardless of the origin of the physical trauma such as motor vehicle collisions.
Below are the conclusions of these recent breakthrough study:


Concussion during ice hockey games results in microstructural alterations that are detectable using dMRI. The alterations that the authors found suggest decreased extracellular space and decreased diffusivities in white matter tissue. This finding might be explained by swelling and/or by increased cellularity of glia cells. Even though these findings in and of themselves cannot determine whether the observed microstructural alterations are related to long-term pathology or persistent symptoms, they are important nonetheless because they establish a clearer picture of how the brain responds to concussion.