Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton believe a new study opens the door to a "totally new approach" to treating head injuries and other conditions that cause cognitive dysfunction.
Published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, the study shows that inflammation is the underlying factor in a variety of symptoms of post-concussion syndromes. Dizziness, headaches, cognitive impairment, insomnia, depression, anxiety and irritability can all be symptoms of traumatic brain injury, and according to one of the study's lead authors, "It's inflammation that they have in common."
"Rather than a concussion," said lead author Michel Rathbone, M.D., "we'd like to propose a unifying umbrella term of post-inflammatory brain syndromes or PIBS."
Indeed, even when a patient suffers from symptoms often associated with concussion, conventional imaging scans may not reveal an obvious brain injury. The new findings suggest that, in these situations, the right treatment may be to target inflammation.
Major surgeries, infections and other traumas can also affect patients' cognitive functioning, and the researchers say that physicians should now consider whether inflammation of the brain is causing the symptoms. It could be that those patients will benefit from treatments typically offered to people with concussions.
An article in PsychCentral has more on how the new findings could affect the way concussion patients are treated in future.
To learn more about what causes concussions and how to identify them during play in youth sports, please see Gluckstein Lawyers' previous post of 25 April.
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