Study shows significant benefit of PolarCap® in recovery from sports-related concussions

Press release:

PolarCool AB (publ), a Swedish medical device company focusing on treatment of sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) and whiplash, today announced that it has submitted a 510(k) pre-market notification to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the PolarCap® System.

This submission follows publication of statistically significant clinical results in the scientific journal Concussion, showing clear benefit for use of the PolarCap® System in the treatment of concussions among players of 15 elite Swedish Ice-Hockey teams in the Swedish Hockey Leagues (SHL).

The incidence of sports-related concussions is a significant national health concern in Sweden, as it is here in the U.S., and there is growing evidence that repetitive traumatic brain injury can cause long-term changes in brain structure and function. This is of particular concern in the field of contact sports, such as ice hockey, where available treatment options are limited.

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Damage to white matter is linked to worse cognitive outcomes after brain injury

Press release:

A new University of Iowa study challenges the idea that gray matter (the neurons that form the cerebral cortex) is more important than white matter (the myelin covered axons that physically connect neuronal regions) when it comes to cognitive health and function. The findings may help neurologists better predict the long-term effects of strokes and other forms of traumatic brain injury.

“The most unexpected aspect of our findings was that damage to gray matter hubs of the brain that are really interconnected with other regions didn’t really tell us much about how poorly people would do on cognitive tests after brain damage. On the other hand, people with damage to the densest white matter connections did much worse on those tests,” explains Justin Reber, PhD, a UI postdoctoral research fellow in psychology and first author on the study. “This is important because both scientists and clinicians often focus almost exclusively on the role of gray matter. This study is a reminder that connections between brain regions might matter just as much as those regions themselves, if not more so.”

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Study finds revised concussion guidelines shorten duration of symptoms

Press release:

The adoption of recommended changes in concussion management led to a reduction in the length of symptoms among 11- to 18-year-old athletes with first-time, sports-related concussions, according to new research in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. These outcomes support the widespread adoption of the updated concussion guidelines.

Researchers conducted a retrospective review of the medical records of athletes who sustained a concussion between 2016 and 2018 and were treated by a physician who used the revised approach to concussion management. They then compared the data with a previously published data set from athletes who sustained a concussion between 2011 and 2013 and whose physicians followed older guidelines for concussion management. A total of 110 male and 72 female athletes met the study’s eligibility criteria.

The recommended changes in care include advocating for early activity, recognizing pre-existing conditions, and educating athletes about concussion recovery. Following implementation of the guidelines at the clinic, athletes of both genders experienced a significantly shorter median duration of concussion symptoms. Male athletes reported a duration of symptoms that dropped from 11 days to 5 days, while female athletes’ symptom duration dropped from 28 to 7 days.

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Bedside EEG test can aid prognosis in unresponsive brain injury patients

Press release:

Assessing the ability of unresponsive patients with severe brain injury to understand what is being said to them could yield important insights into how they might recover, according to new research.

A team at the University of Birmingham has shown that responses to speech can be measured using electroencephalography, a non-invasive technique used to record electrical signals in the brain. The strength of these responses can be used to provide an accurate prognosis that can help clinicians make the most effective treatment decisions.

Significantly the assessments can be made while the patient is still in intensive care and does not require any conscious response from the patient – they do not have to ‘do’ anything.

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College Football Players Underestimate Risk of Injury and Concussion

College football players may underestimate their risk of injury and concussion, according to a new study published today in JAMA Network Open.

Christine Baugh, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and member of the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities, is the corresponding author of the article, “Accuracy of US College Football Players’ Estimates of Their Risk of Concussion or Injury.”

Baugh and co-authors report on survey results of 296 college football players from four teams in the Power 5 Conferences of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Athletes were surveyed in 2017. The researchers found that between 43 percent and 91 percent of respondents underestimated their risk of injury and between 42 percent and 63 percent underestimated their risk of concussion.

To measure the accuracy of football players’ risk estimations, the researchers modeled individual athletes’ probabilities of sustaining a concussion or injury and compared model estimates to athlete perceptions. While recognizing that many people underestimate health risks, the authors point out that the risks college football athletes face may be more severe or debilitating than those faced by many in the general population. Given this elevated risk profile, they say it is concerning that athletes tend to underestimate the likelihood of these risks. These results raise questions about informed consent and how much risk should be acceptable in the context of a game, Baugh and her co-authors write.

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Concussion rates are nearly double what we thought — and summer is prime injury time

(TORONTO, Canada) – With concussions seeming more common than ever before, researchers at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network, set out to answer the question, Are we looking at a true epidemic, or just better recognition?

By embarking on the largest-scale study on concussions ever undertaken in Canada, the researchers discovered that 150,000 of Ontarians (1.2% of province’s population) are diagnosed with a concussion each year. That’s almost twice as high as previously recorded, and may represent a closer estimate of the true picture of concussion in Ontario.

Their findings were published the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

“Past research has looked at the incidence of concussion by examining a particular population; cause of injury; or use a single reporting source, such as records from the Emergency Department. This can under-represent estimates of the real incidence of concussion,” says lead author, Laura Langer.

“Our study revealed concussion rates that are almost double what has been previously reported, and highlights the critical importance of looking at everyone who sought medical attention for their concussion.”

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New concussion laws result in big jump in concussion treatment

Press Release:

ANN ARBOR–New laws regulating concussion treatment, bolstered by heightened public awareness, have resulted in a large increase in the treatment of concussion-related injuries for school-age athletes.

Over the past decade, concerns over concussion injuries and media coverage of them have skyrocketed. Since 2009, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted concussion laws regulating concussion treatment–the first laws written to address a specific injury.

A University of Michigan study designed to evaluate the impact of new concussion laws found a 92 percent increase in children seeking medical assistance for concussions in states with the legislation in place. States without concussion laws showed a 75 percent increase in those seeking injury-related health care.

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