Brain imaging exams performed on high school football players after just one season revealed changes in both the gray and white matter that correlated with exposure to head impacts, according to a new study that will be presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
"It's important to understand the potential changes occurring in the brain related to youth contact sports," said Elizabeth Moody Davenport, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, who led this analysis. "We know that some professional football players suffer from a serious condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. We are attempting to find out when and how that process starts, so that we can keep sports a healthy activity for millions of children and adolescents."
The study included 24 players from a high school football team in North Carolina, each of whom wore a helmet outfitted with the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) during all practices and games. The helmets are lined with six accelerometers, or sensors, that measure the magnitude, location and direction of a hit. Data from the helmets can be uploaded to a computer for analysis.
"We saw changes in these young players' brains on both structural and functional imaging after a single season of football," Dr. Davenport said.
In the study, each player underwent pre- and post-season imaging: a specialized MRI scan, from which diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) data were extracted to measure the brain's white matter integrity, and a magnetoencephalography (MEG) scan, which records and analyzes the magnetic fields produced by brain waves. Diffusion imaging can measure the structural white matter changes in the brain, and MEG assesses changes in function.
"MEG can be used to measure delta waves in the brain, which are a type of distress signal," Dr. Davenport said. "Delta waves represent slow wave activity that increases after brain injuries. The delta waves we saw came from the surface of the brain, while diffusion imaging is a measure of the white matter deeper in the brain."
The research team calculated the change in imaging metrics between the pre- and post-season imaging exams. They measured abnormalities observed on diffusion imaging and abnormally increased delta wave activity on MEG. The imaging results were then combined with player-specific impact data from the HITS. None of the 24 players were diagnosed with a concussion during the study.
Players with greater head impact exposure had the greatest change in diffusion imaging and MEG metrics.
"Change in diffusion imaging metrics correlated most to linear acceleration, similar to the impact of a car crash," Dr. Davenport said. "MEG changes correlated most to rotational impact, similar to a boxer's punch. These results demonstrate that you need both imaging metrics to assess impact exposure because they correlate with very different biomechanical processes."
Dr. Davenport said similar studies are being conducted this fall, and a consortium has been formed to continue the brain imaging research in youth contact sports across the country.
"Without a larger population that is closely followed in a longitudinal study, it is difficult to know the long-term effects of these changes," she said. "We don't know if the brain's developmental trajectory is altered, or if the off-season time allows for the brain to return to normal."
Co-authors on the study are Jillian Urban, Ph.D., Ben Wagner, B.S., Mark A. Espeland, Ph.D., Christopher T. Whitlow, M.D., Ph.D., Joel Stitzel, Ph.D., and Joseph A. Maldjian, M.D.
Note: Copies of RSNA 2016 news releases and electronic images will be available online at RSNA.org/press16 beginning Monday, Nov. 28.
RSNA is an association of more than 54,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists, promoting excellence in patient care and health care delivery through education, research and technologic innovation. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org)
For patient-friendly information on brain MRI, visit RadiologyInfo.org.
Linda Brooks | EurekAlert!
Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)
Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences
22.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences