If your child is playing soccer or football or any other sport that produces minor head trauma please read the excerpt of the study below.


Study: Non-concussion football head blows can cause brain damage.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (3/7, Tullis, 921K) reports, “According to a study published today in PLOS One, college football players who sustain hits to the head may experience long-term brain damage even if they aren't concussed.” Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that of 67 college football players who didn't experience concussion, “the 40 players who absorbed the hardest hits had elevated levels of an antibody linked to brain damage,” and their brain scans, when analyzed in a double-blind process, had “abnormalities that were predicted by the presence of the antibody.” The study “suggests that the risks may be far more widespread than previously acknowledged.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (3/7, Mangels, 315K) reports, “The research also suggests – though without ironclad proof – that repeated 'sub-concussive' blows may trigger the body's immune system to inadvertently attack the brain,” and if that response persists, “it may play a role in the mental decline and dementia that plague some football players years after they've left the game.”

HealthDay (3/7, Gordon) reports the researchers “found that blows to the head that don't cause concussions may cause a break in the protective blood-brain barrier, allowing substances to leak from the brain into the body,” and that, as those substances “aren't normally found in the body, the immune system sees them as foreign and attacks them.” Still, study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, noted “that the researchers only know for sure that there's an immune response,” not “whether it's a damaging response or even a protective one at this point.”

Also covering this story is MedPage Today (3/7, Walsh).