Mar 4, 2015
Concussions & Blood Flow

A recently released study finds that cerebral blood flow (CBF) may be a biomarker for concussion severity. It also uncovered a link between decreased CBF and longer recovery time.

Led by Timothy Meier, PhD, of the Mind Research Network/Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute in Albuquerque, N.M., the study, which was published online in JAMA Neurology on March 2, analyzed 17 college football players who underwent MRI scans to measure brain blood flow one day, one week, and one month after their concussion. The results were compared against blood flow findings from a control group of 27 football players who had not been concussed. 

According to ScienceDaily and U.S. News:

  • Observations suggested that cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms that were seen one day post injury had resolved at both the one week and one month mark. Imaging data indicated CBF recovery occurred at the same time.

  • In players who were slower to recover one month after the concussion as well as players who exhibited the “most severe initial psychiatric symptoms,” blood flow remained reduced in a key part of the brain. 

  • The study’s results indicate that measuring CBF may be useful during the initial evaluation and recovery process as well as in making return-to-play decisions.

“To our knowledge, this study provides the first prospective evidence of reduced CBF and subsequent recovery following concussion in a homogenous sample of collegiate football athletes and also demonstrates the potential of quantified CBF as an objective biomarker for concussion,” the study concludes. 

The full study is available here.


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