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Concept: Head injury


BACKGROUND: Head trauma in adolescents has been linked with deficits in attention and executive function that can compromise the performance of everyday tasks. Although previous research has examined this issue using computerized neuropsychological testing, little work has been done using laboratory-based measurements of attention and executive function in this population. A longitudinal analysis of recovery patterns of these measures among adolescents is central to understanding the effects of concussions across the age spectrum. PURPOSE: This study prospectively and longitudinally examined laboratory-based measures of attention and executive function in concussed adolescents sequentially over a 2-month period following injury. METHODS: Two measures of attention and executive function: the Attentional Network Test (ANT) and Task-Switching Test (TST) were administered to 20 concussed adolescents within 72 hours post injury as well as at one week, two weeks, one month, and two months post injury. Twenty healthy, matched control subjects were similarly assessed at the same time intervals. Data were analyzed by two-way, mixed effects analyses of variance to determine the effect of group and time on the dependent variables. RESULTS: Compared with control subjects, the concussed group exhibited a significantly greater switch cost on the TST (p = .038, mean difference value = 38 ms) and a significantly greater reaction time for the ANT conflict effect component (p = .015, mean difference value = 34 ms) for up to two months after injury. CONCLUSIONS: Concussed adolescents have difficulty recovering executive function after injury and may require extended recuperation time before full recovery is achieved. Evaluations focusing on attention and executive function can be useful additions in the assessment and follow-up after head injury.

Concepts: Cognitive science, Neuropsychology, Working memory, Diffuse axonal injury, Concussion, Neuropsychological assessment, Head injury, Head injury criterion


Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is defined as a head trauma resulting in a brief loss of consciousness and/or alteration of mental state, is usually benign, but occasionally causes persistent and sometimes progressive symptoms. Whether a threshold for the amount of brain injury and/or individual vulnerability might contribute to the development of these long-term consequences is unknown. Furthermore, reliable diagnostic methods that can establish whether a blow to the head has affected the brain (and in what way) are lacking. In this Review, we discuss potential biomarkers of injury to different structures and cell types in the CNS that can be detected in body fluids. We present arguments in support of the need for further development and validation of such biomarkers, and for their use in assessing patients with head trauma in whom the brain might have been affected. Specifically, we focus on the need for such biomarkers in the management of sports-related concussion, the most common cause of mild TBI in young individuals, to prevent long-term neurological sequelae due to concussive or subconcussive blows to the head.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Brain, Traumatic brain injury, Cerebrospinal fluid, Post-concussion syndrome, Diffuse axonal injury, Concussion, Head injury


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: According to recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, the annual incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States is 1.6-3.2 million, of which the majority is classified as mild. Over half of these injuries occur in the pediatric population, and can often be attributed to a sports-related mechanism. Although postconcussion symptoms are usually short-lived, more lasting deficits can occur, which can be particularly disruptive to the developing brain. Recent literature detailing the pathophysiology of mild TBI (mTBI), with attention to pediatric studies, is presented. RECENT FINDINGS: Although concussion generally does not produce any structural damage on conventional computed tomography (CT) or MRI, advanced neuroimaging modalities reveal microstructural and functional neurobiological changes. Diffuse axonal injury, metabolic impairment, alterations in neural activation and cerebral blood flow perturbations can occur and may contribute to acute symptomatology. Although these physiological changes usually recover to baseline in 7-10 days, sustaining recurrent injury before full recovery may increase the potential for persistent deficits. SUMMARY: Understanding the pathophysiology of concussion in the pediatric population can potentially open therapeutic avenues to decrease symptom persistence and prevent further injury. Future studies in the pediatric population are necessary given the pathophysiologic differences between the developing and adult brains.

Concepts: Brain, Traumatic brain injury, Axon, Injury, Post-concussion syndrome, Diffuse axonal injury, Concussion, Head injury


ABSTRACT Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important health issue with high prevalence. The most common type of TBI is mild TBI (MTBI). MTBI is known as a condition with self-limited symptoms; however, it could cause some structural abnormalities of brain and become complicated. Visible structural brain damage could have an important effect on recovery after MTBI, but the outcome is not fully understood. This study investigated the clinical course of MTBI patients with the existence of contusion in computed tomography (CT) imaging. Fifty patients with MTBI and simultaneous brain contusion in CT scan were enrolled according to specific exclusion criteria in 14 month. Patients were followed up for two weeks after their first arrival for neurosurgical interventions, decreased level of consciousness, and other neurological complications. Presence of neurological symptoms increased duration of hospital stay and number of CT scans. Forty-two percent of MTBI patients with contusion did not have any objective neurological signs. Fifty percent returned to the hospital with neurologic symptoms and signs. Leading causes were headache followed by seizure and dizziness. Rehospitalization was increased in the patients with altered level of consciousness. The size of brain contusion increased in two patients without further need for neurosurgical intervention. Contusion alone did not worsen the prognosis of patients in short-term follow-up and did not cause neurosurgical interventions.

Concepts: Brain, Traumatic brain injury, Tomographic reconstruction, Neurology, Post-concussion syndrome, Subdural hematoma, Neurotrauma, Head injury


OBJECTIVE To determine the acute predictors associated with the development of postconcussion syndrome (PCS) in children and adolescents after mild traumatic brain injury. DESIGN Retrospective analysis of a prospective observational study. SETTING Pediatric emergency department (ED) in a children’s hospital. PARTICIPANTS Four hundred six children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 years. MAIN EXPOSURE Closed head trauma. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES The Rivermead Post Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire administered 3 months after the injury. RESULTS Of the patients presenting to the ED with mild traumatic brain injury, 29.3% developed PCS. The most frequent PCS symptom was headache. Predictors of PCS, while controlling for other factors, were being of adolescent age, headache on presentation to the ED, and admission to the hospital. Patients who developed PCS missed a mean (SD) of 7.4 (13.9) days of school. CONCLUSIONS Adolescents who have headache on ED presentation and require hospital admission at the ED encounter are at elevated risk for PCS after mild traumatic brain injury. Interventions to identify this population and begin early treatment may improve outcomes and reduce the burden of disease.

Concepts: Hospital, Observational study, Traumatic brain injury, Post-concussion syndrome, Trauma center, Concussion, Neurotrauma, Head injury


Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) has a major role in mortality rate among the other types of trauma. The aim of this clinical study was to assess the effect of progesterone on the improvement of neurologic outcome in patients with acute severe TBI.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Brain, Medical statistics, Traumatic brain injury, Psychological trauma, Diffuse axonal injury, Concussion, Head injury


Concussion in children is frequently related to participation in sports. It requires a traumatic event to occur that transmits acceleration to the brain. Some children may have intrinsic risk factors that place them at greater risk for this type of injury. Comorbidities such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, migraine headaches, and mood disorders may place athletes at increased risk of more severe injury. A previous concussion is probably the most important influence on risk for future injury. Extrinsic risk factors include coaching techniques, officiating, and choice of sport. Helmet choice does not diminish concussion risk, nor does the use of mouth guards. Education of athletes, coaches, parents, and physicians is very important in improving recognition of potential concussive injury and helping child athletes and their parents understand the risks involved in sport participation. [Pediatr Ann. 2014;43(12):e309-e315.].

Concepts: Risk, Traumatic brain injury, Injury, Mental disorder, Subdural hematoma, Concussion, Head injury


The knowledge about the diffuse axonal injury (DAI) as a clinicopathological entity has matured in the last 30 years. It has been defined clinically (immediate and prolonged unconsciousness leading to death or severe disability) and pathologically (the triad of DAI specific changes). In terms of its biomechanics, DAI is occurring as a result of acceleration forces of longer duration and has been fully reproduced experimentally.In the process of diagnosing DAI, the performance of a complete forensic neuropathological examination is essential and the immunohistochemistry method using antibodies against β-amyloid precursor protein (β-APP) has been proved to be highly sensitive and specific, selectively targeting the damaged axons.In this review, we are pointing to the significant characteristics of DAI as a distinct clinicopathological entity that can cause severe impairment of the brain function, and in the forensic medicine setting, it can be found as the concrete cause of death. We are discussing not only its pathological feature, its mechanism of occurrence, and the events on a cellular level but also the dilemmas about DAI that still exist in science: (1) regarding the strict criteria for its diagnosis and (2) regarding its biomechanical significance, which can be of a big medicolegal importance.

Concepts: Antibody, Pathology, Traumatic brain injury, Anatomical pathology, Diffuse axonal injury, Concussion, Head injury, Forensic pathology


To examine the utility of the Abbreviated Westmead Post-traumatic Amnesia Scale (A-WPTAS), which includes the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and three picture cards used to measure amnesia, in identifying the presence or absence of post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) in individuals with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

Concepts: Traumatic brain injury, Amnesia, Glasgow Coma Scale, Coma, Concussion, Neurotrauma, Post-traumatic amnesia, Head injury


Pneumorrachis (PR) is characterized by the presence of air within the spinal canal. It can be classified descriptively into internal or intradural and external or epidural. The causes of PR can be divided as iatrogenic, nontraumatic and traumatic. In the present study, a comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify all previous cases of PR after an isolate head injury. Two additional cases were also reported. We concluded, that PR after isolated head injuries is a rare but likely an underdiagnosed entity. It is a marker of severe injury and the majority of such patients have a poor outcome. Although, PR is usually asymptomatic and reabsorbs spontaneously, prompt recognition and management of the underlying cause is essential. Therefore, clinicians should maintain a high level of suspicion for serious underlying injury in cases where initial radiological imaging reveals intraspinal air.

Concepts: Causality, Injuries, Injury, Subarachnoid hemorrhage, Concussion, Neurotrauma, Head injury, Brain damage