Mon, Jun 26, 2017 | updated 01:03 AM IST

Brain changes witnessed in children after single season of playing youth football

Updated: Oct 24, 2016 11:16 IST      
Brain changes witnessed in children after single season of playing youth football

Washington D.C [USA], Oct.24 (ANI): Measurable brain changes have been witnessed in children after a single season of playing youth football, even without a concussion diagnosis, says a new study.

According to USA Football, there are approximately three million young athletes participating in organized tackle football across the country. Numerous reports have emerged in recent years about the possible risks of brain injury while playing youth sports and the effects it may have on developing brains.

However, most of the research has looked at changes in the brain as a result of concussion.

"Most investigators believe that concussions are bad for the brain, but what about the hundreds of head impacts during a season of football that don't lead to a clinically diagnosed concussion? We wanted to see if cumulative sub-concussive head impacts have any effects on the developing brain," said the study's lead author Christopher T. Whitlow.

The research team studied 25 male youth football players between the ages of 8 and 13. Head impact data were recorded using the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITs), which has been used in other studies of high school and collegiate football to assess the frequency and severity of helmet impacts. In this study, HITs data were analyzed to determine the risk weighted cumulative exposure associated with a single season of play.

The study participants underwent pre- and post-season evaluation with multimodal neuroimaging, including diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the brain. DTI is an advanced MRI technique, which identifies microstructural changes in the brain's white matter. In addition, all games and practices were video recorded and reviewed to confirm the accuracy of the impacts.

The brain's white matter is composed of millions of nerve fibers called axons that act like communication cables connecting various regions of the brain. Diffusion tensor imaging produces a measurement, called fractional anisotropy (FA), of the movement of water molecules in the brain and along axons. In healthy white matter, the direction of water movement is fairly uniform and measures high in FA. When water movement is more random, FA values decrease, which has been associated with brain abnormalities in some studies.

The results showed a significant relationship between head impacts and decreased FA in specific white matter tracts and tract terminals, where white and gray matters meet.

"We found that these young players who experienced more cumulative head impact exposure had more changes in brain white matter, specifically decreased FA, in specific parts of the brain," Whitlow said. "These decreases in FA caught our attention, because similar changes in FA have been reported in the setting of mild TBI."

It is important to note that none of the players had any signs or symptoms of concussion.

"We do not know if there are important functional changes related to these findings, or if these effects will be associated with any negative long-term outcomes," Whitlow said. "Football is a physical sport, and players may have many physical changes after a season of play that completely resolve. These changes in the brain may also simply resolve with little consequence. However, more research is needed to understand the meaning of these changes to the long-term health of our youngest athletes."

The study has been published in Radiology. (ANI)

Paracetamol during pregnancy can put unborn boys at risk

Updated: Jun 25, 2017 14:45 IST     

New Delhi [India] June 24, (ANI): Pregnant? You may want to rethink popping those paracetamol pills as a recent study has suggested that doing so can harm the masculinity of your unborn son.

Full Story >>

Excessive texting is bad for your wrists

Updated: Jun 25, 2017 11:48 IST     

New York [US], June 25 (ANI): Texting, the thing we do most with our phones, takes a toll on our health.

Full Story >>

Ozone exposure ups autism odds in at-risk people

Updated: Jun 24, 2017 19:47 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jun 24 (ANI): Elevated exposure to ozone can put individuals with high levels of genetic variation at an even higher risk for developing autism than would be expected by adding the two risk factors together, according to a recent analysis.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], June 24 (ANI): People suffering from advanced kidney cancer, we have some good news for you.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], June 24 (ANI): In a recent study, leisure activities like going for a walk outside, reading, listening to music and other fun activities can reduce blood pressure for elderly caregivers of spouses with Alzheimer's disease.

Full Story >>

Anti-epilepsy drug to treat Alzheimer's disease?

Updated: Jun 24, 2017 10:09 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 24 (ANI): According to a recent study, the scientists have tested an anti-epileptic drug for its potential impact on the brain activity of patients with mild Alzheimer's disease.

Full Story >>

Take these measures to keep oral cancer at bay

Updated: Jun 23, 2017 16:04 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 23 (ANI): Oral Cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in India. Evidence suggests that India bears the largest burden of oral cancers in the world, with an incidence of around 11.28 percent in Indian men.

Full Story >>

Don't eat but sleep, to beat office blues!

Updated: Jun 23, 2017 10:59 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 23 (ANI): Stressful day at work leads to binge-eating at night. A new study suggests a good night's sleep can serve as a protecting factor between job stress and unhealthy eating in the evening.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], June 23 (ANI): According to a recent clinical trial, intensive blood pressure lowering benefits patients with chronic kidney disease.

Full Story >>

New Delhi, [India], June 22 (ANI): J K Organization, in collaboration with Pushpawati Singhania Hospital and Research Institute Multispecialty Hospital, organized a two-day blood donation camp in New Delhi to collect 4043 units of blood.

Full Story >>

Can your blood group predict heart attack risk?

Updated: Jun 22, 2017 13:12 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): India is presently witnessing nearly two million heart attacks annually. A heart attack (clinically known as myocardial infarction) is the permanent damage or death of the heart muscles due to lack of oxygen-rich blood. According to reports, heart attack kills one person in every 33 seconds in our country.

Full Story >>

Deficits in attention linked to increased alcohol use

Updated: Jun 22, 2017 13:02 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 22 (ANI): Finding it hard to multi-task? Your frequency of alcohol use could be a reason.

Full Story >>

Healing garden at your place: Homoeopathy speaks

Updated: Jun 22, 2017 13:01 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): One always aspires to be fit and healthy without taking any medicine. If there will be no stress, infections or any other disturbances, there will be no chance of getting ill. But the real world is exactly opposite. There is no life without challenges.

Full Story >>

Looking for stone removal procedure?

Updated: Jun 22, 2017 11:48 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): Kidneys help in detoxifying and filtering impurities from the blood. They help us excrete excess toxins and excess water through urine.

Full Story >>

Lack Vitamin D? Your job could be a reason

Updated: Jun 22, 2017 09:35 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 22 (ANI): Stuck behind your office desk for most part of the day? Your nine-to-five job could be a major factor that puts you at high risk of Vitamin D deficiency.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Jun 21 (ANI): In a major breakthrough in kidney transplant, a team of doctors has conducted an ABO incompatible kidney transplant on the youngest child in SAARC region.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], June 21 (ANI): The proverb early to bed and early to rise makes man healthy, wealthy and wise, rightly explains a recent study, as it suggests people who sleep after 3 a.m. at night have lower perceived control of obsessive thoughts.

Full Story >>

Exhaustion of immune cells linked to irritable bowel syndrome

Updated: Jun 21, 2017 12:50 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], June 21 (ANI): Australian researchers have recently discovered that exhaustion of the immune system is linked to a specific type of an intestinal disorder causing pain in the stomach, wind, diarrhea and constipation.

Full Story >>

Nerves from foot used to restore vision of 60-year-old

Updated: Jun 19, 2017 19:58 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 19 (ANI): In a first of its kind surgery, a hospital in Mumbai used nerves from the foot of a partially blind 60-year-old woman to help her restore her vision.

Full Story >>

Now, it's easier to blunt sickle cell disease

Updated: Jun 19, 2017 16:28 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 19 (ANI): As population of sickle cell poses a formidable challenge, odds have dramatically lessened in its treatment.

Full Story >>