Concussions make "stupid"

Those affected still suffer from significant impairments of cognitive abilities after six years

Sensitive content: The skull protects the brain from shocks that can have lasting effects. © AG Konrad / University of Marburg
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Slight concussions have serious long-term effects. This is the result of a study that physicians and psychologists from Marburg and Münster have now submitted. According to the study, those affected suffer significant impairment of their cognitive abilities after six years.

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"A mild craniocerebral trauma can occur after relatively minor shocks during sports, at home, after rear-end collisions or falls, " explains Dr. med. Carsten Konrad from the University of Marburg.

Concussion without long-term consequences?

For patients who have suffered such a concussion and then notice emotional or cognitive impairments, it is often difficult to enforce their claims against insurance or accident opponents, as according to the current common wisdom a concussion remains without long-term consequences.

The interdisciplinary team of scientists around Konrad now provides important evidence that this view could be wrong. In their new study, the scientists looked at people who had suffered mild craniocerebral trauma and examined them psychiatric, neuropsychological and magnetic resonance imaging. display

Learning and memory impaired after six years

According to the researchers in the journal "Psychological Medicine", patients showed on average after six years still moderate to severe impairments in various neuropsychological areas such as learning and memory, working memory, attention and executive functions.

Also, depressive symptoms were more common after concussion, according to the scientists. In subjects who had not suffered traumatic brain injury, no such finding was found.

Causes of long-term effects unknown

"We can rule out that the observed impairments can be explained by depressive symptoms or suboptimal performance, " Konrad explains. The causes of the long-term effect, however, are still unknown.

(idw - University of Marburg, 26.10.2010 - DLO)