Head impacts 'may speed up brain ageing'

2 August 2012

Concussions and head impacts could speed up the ageing of the brain, according to new research.

Hits to the head could cause signalling pathways in the brain to break down more quickly than they would in someone who has never experienced a head injury or concussion, according to the study which was published in the journal Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews.

A team of scientists looked at two groups of college students - with and without a history of concussion - and found that those who did experienced changes in gait, balance and in the brain's electrical activity.

Specifically, changes manifested themselves neurologically when it came to attention and impulse control, the researchers found.

This was despite the fact that externally all of the participants looked and acted the same.

Steven Broglio, of the University of Michigan, commented: "The last thing we want is for people to panic. Just because you've had a concussion does not mean your brain will age more quickly or you'll get Alzheimer's."

"We are only proposing how being hit in the head may lead to these other conditions, but we don't know how it all goes together just yet."

Posted by Edward Bartel

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