News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | November 02, 2017

Post-Concussion Brain Changes Persist for Pre-Teen Hockey Players

New study finds brains continue to rewire three months later with no symptoms reported

Post-Concussion Brain Changes Persist for Pre-Teen Hockey Players

November 2, 2017 — Young hockey players who have suffered concussions may still show changes in the white matter of the brain months after being cleared to return to play, researchers at Western University have found. These findings were achieved through use of sophisticated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques.

The study, published in the Oct. 25, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, looked at MRI brain scans from 17 Bantam-level hockey players between the ages of 11 and 14, who suffered a concussion during the regular season and who were compared to an age-matched control of non-concussed players.

The athletes underwent brain MRI testing within 24-72 hours of the initial concussion, and again three months post-concussion, at which time all players reported no symptoms on clinical evaluations and were cleared to return to play following the standard concussion consensus Return to Play protocol. Most of the concussions were a result of falls that resulted in a hit to the back of the head.

"What the MRI shows is that there are still changes occurring in the brain even after the clinical tests have returned to normal," said Ravi Menon, Ph.D., professor at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and a scientist at Robarts Research Institute. "This is potentially of some concern and we'd like to understand this further to determine if these are normal healthy changes or if they are indicative of something that might be going wrong."

The advanced MRI data was analyzed by Ph.D. candidate Kathryn Manning at Western's Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping at Robarts Research Institute. The team looked at diffusion, functional and spectroscopy MRI data. On both the acute and the three-month scans, researchers observed that the very long fiber tracks in the brains of the concussed players were damaged, and also saw 'hyper-connectivity' in some areas of the brain, suggesting the brain may still have been trying to compensate for the injury.

"We saw that there were prolonged abnormalities in terms of the white matter in the brain," said Manning, noting that these changes are only visible using high field-strength MRI and these sophisticated analytical methods. "On a normal clinical MRI scan, you typically see the structural images of the brain, and for a mild brain injury like a concussion, we aren't able to see the underlying changes we were able to see using these advanced methods."

Lisa Fischer, M.D., assistant professor at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, treats concussions at The Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, supported by Western University and London Health Sciences Centre. For her, this news is promising for concussion diagnosis. "If we can come up with a clinically-relevant, objective measure for concussion diagnosis and recovery, we can make safer decisions about return to play," she said. "This study has the potential to help develop that."

For more information: www.neurology.org

Related Content

IV contrast-enhanced 2-mSv 4-mm-thick transverse and coronal (b) CT images show inflamed diverticula (arrows), segmental colonic wall thickening, and adjacent pericolic fat stranding. Image courtesy of the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS), American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

IV contrast-enhanced 2-mSv 4-mm-thick transverse and coronal (b) CT images show inflamed diverticula (arrows), segmental colonic wall thickening, and adjacent pericolic fat stranding. Image courtesy of the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS), American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | April 09, 2021
April 9, 2021 — According to an open-acc...
pediatric MRI brain imaging in children

Getty Images

News | Pediatric Imaging | March 25, 2021
March 25, 2021 — A large study of brain magnetic reso...
Gadopiclenol is a high-relaxivity macrocyclic contrast agent used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
News | Contrast Media | March 24, 2021
March 24, 2021 — Guerbet announced positive results from two...
The first known study exploring optimal outpatient exam scheduling through a model algorithm was shown to yield shorter wait times for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for patients and reduced costs. A collaboration including experts at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) and at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College worked to identify sources of delays for MRI procedures at LHMC in order to develop a mathematical model to optimize scheduling.

Getty Images

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | March 23, 2021
March 23, 2021 — The first known study exploring optimal outpatient exam scheduling through a model algorithm was sho
The Moscow Center for Diagnostics and Telemedicine presented clinical research findings during ECR 2021 highlighting that full integration of AI into radiology workflow during the pandemic increased radiologists' productivity
News | Artificial Intelligence | March 22, 2021
March 22, 2021 — Moscow Center for Diagnostics & Telemedicine and...
WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute staff prepare a patient for a first-in-the-world clinical trial to investigate the use of focused ultrasound technology to treat opioid use disorder. (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute staff prepare a patient for a first-in-the-world clinical trial to investigate the use of focused ultrasound technology to treat opioid use disorder. (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

News | Focused Ultrasound Therapy | March 17, 2021
March 17, 2021 — On the heels of the country’s deadliest year for drug overdoses, the ...
A national screening program targeted at those men who are genetically pre-disposed to prostate cancer, and involving a blood test and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan before an invasive biopsy, could prevent one in six prostate cancer deaths and significantly reduce over-diagnosis, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.

Getty Images

News | Prostate Cancer | March 15, 2021
March 15, 2021 — A national screening program targeted at those men who are genetically pre-disposed to...
Prenatal MRI of a Zika fetus showing enlarged cerebral fluid space, dilation of the cerebral ventricles, thinning of brain tissue, poorly developed cerebellum and the absence of brain cortical gyri. (Image coutesy of RSNA)

Prenatal MRI of a Zika fetus showing enlarged cerebral fluid space, dilation of the cerebral ventricles, thinning of brain tissue, poorly developed cerebellum and the absence of brain cortical gyri. (Image coutesy of RSNA)

News | Pediatric Imaging | March 15, 2021
March 15, 2021 — Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)