March 18, 2014
The Cussed Concussion
Mouse brain neurons color-coded, and showing filament-like axons and dendrites. Image: NIH
Concussions seem to be the most fascinating of brain injuries. In the ‘old days’ i.e. circa the 20th century, the definition of concussion was pretty straightforward. You bonked your head hard, saw stars or lost consciousness, and came to to anxious onlookers inquiring after your well-being. Then you were made to stay awake for many hours so that you didn’t fall asleep forever. But the next day? Business, or school, as usual.
These days, concussion is considered the milder form of traumatic brain injury, and it doesn’t necessarily include unconciousness. It can be immediately apparent, or take up to a day or more to be recognized. In can include many different symptoms – headache, dizziness, confusion, vision disturbances – and recovery can be just a week to many weeks, months, or even longer.
The most important ‘news’ about concussions, however, is to take care not to get a repeat one close after the first one. That’s because second concussions mean a much higher chance of long-term effects. If there’s one message we should all take away from Brain Injury Awareness month, it’s that a blow to the head should get respect, especially in youth. That makes it worthwhile to post two portions of this well-done infographic – for the entire thing, go to Kevin Pearce’s Love Your Brain page.