Half way into last year's season, 35 of 288 players in the Swedish Hockey League had already had a concussion. Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, who surveyed all of the players in the league's 12 clubs, have now developed a method that can show just an hour after the injury how severe the concussion is, if there is a risk of long-term symptoms and about when the player can return to the game.
Between September and December of the 2012/2013 season alone, 35 of 288 players in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) had had a concussion - in three cases, it was so severe that the player was knocked unconscious.
These were the findings of researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, who monitored and examined all of the players in the Sweden's top hockey league in cooperation with Luleå University of Technology.
The goal of the unique study was to find safer methods of diagnosing sports-related brain injuries, and to obtain a better basis for decisions about when the player can return to the game.
In the study, the players who had a concussion were asked to provide repeated blood samples, directly after the concussion and during the ensuing days. The results were compared with the pre-season samples from two full teams.
This way, Professor Henrik Zetterberg and his colleagues could show that a special nerve cell protein, called tau, at elevated levels in the blood is a marker of concussion.
By measuring the tau levels in a regular blood test, the researchers could say how severe the concussion was just one hour after the injury, and with a high level of certainty could predict which players would have long-term symptoms and thereby needed to rest longer.
"In ice hockey and other contact sports, repeated concussions are common, where the brain has not finished healing after the first blow. This kind of injury is particularly dangerous, but there have not been any methods for monitoring how a concussion in an athlete heals," says Henrik Zetterberg.
Henrik Zetterberg is among the world's leading brain researchers and has conducted research on concussions in sports for many years and in numerous studies. According to Zetterberg, the new findings are not only relevant to ice hockey, but to all sports where there is a risk of head injuries.
"In contact sports like ice hockey, boxing and American football, concussions are a growing international problem. The stakes for the individual athlete are high, and the list of players forced to quit with life-long injury is getting ever longer," says Henrik Zetterberg.
"We hope that this method will be developed into a clinical tool for club physicians and others in sports medicine, and is used as a basis for the decision on how long the player should rest after a blow to the head," says Henrik Zetterberg. “It could even be used in general in emergency medical care to diagnose brain damage from concussions regardless of how they happened.”
The study was conducted in cooperation with researchers at the Luleå University of Technology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the US biotech firm Quanterix Corporation.
Yelverton Tegner, a researcher at Luleå University of Technology and also physician for the Swedish national women's football team, is positive:
“Our goal is to have a working kit that can be used for diagnostics in hospitals, and perhaps also at rink side in stadiums immediately when someone got a concussion”.
The article Blood biomarkers for brain injury in concussed professional ice hockey players is being published in JAMA Neurology on 13 March.
JAMA Neurol. Published online March 13, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.367
Henrik Zetterberg, Professor at the Institution for Neuroscience and Physiology, the Sahlgrenska Academy
+46 (0)768-67 26 47
Pashtun Shahim, Doctoral Candidate at the Institution for Neuroscience and Physiology, the Sahlgrenska Academy
+46 (0)762-70 45 84
YelvertonTegner, MD Luleå Hockey and Professor at the Luleå University of Technology
Pressofficer Krister Svahn, Krister.firstname.lastname@example.org; +46- 766 183 869
http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/journal.aspx link to journal
Krister Svahn | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Epilepsy at the Molecular Level
10.02.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
The herbivore dilemma: How corn plants fights off simultaneous attacks
09.02.2016 | Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.
Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...
Researchers at King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. The results are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.
The scientists have shown that hearing impairment is linked to hormonal signalling rather than to hair cell degeneration. Wbp2 is known as a transcriptional...
Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.
"Our findings have demonstrated that renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices," said Vilas Pol, an...
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
09.02.2016 | Event News
09.02.2016 | Materials Sciences
09.02.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering