2-Minute Neuroscience: Concussions

2-Minute Neuroscience: Concussions


Welcome to 2 minute neuroscience, where I
explain neuroscience topics in 2 minutes or less. In this installment I will discuss concussions. A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain
injury that occurs when rapid movement of the head or an impact to the head causes the
brain to move within the skull, potentially stretching axons and damaging cell membranes
of neurons. When neuronal membranes are disrupted, it
can cause the dysregulated flow of ions into and out of the cell, as well as the increased
release of excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate, which leads to further disruptions
in ionic balance and a general inhibition of neuronal activity. Sodium-Potassium pumps work frantically to
restore balance, but this causes depletion of energy stores and an energy crisis that’s
compounded by lower than normal levels of blood flow. Additionally, the increased glutamate activity
prompts excess calcium to enter cells; the high calcium levels can disrupt the function
of mitochondria, amplifying the energy crisis. The decreased energy availability may last
for days to a week or more and impact cognition. The trauma and subsequent effects can also
damage the structural integrity of neurons and glia, further disrupting brain function. These structural and biochemical changes are
associated with the symptoms of a concussion, which include (but aren’t limited to) headaches,
confusion, memory loss, and dizziness. After a concussion, patients may also experience
an increased susceptibility to another injury, and repeated concussions have been linked
to longer-lasting effects on brain function. In some cases, patients who have experienced
repeated concussions may begin, often years after the repetitive trauma, to display symptoms
of early-onset dementia, mood disturbances, and Parkinsonian symptoms. The resultant condition, known as chronic
traumatic encephalopathy, has also been linked to the appearance of neurofibrillary tangles
and amyloid plaques, which are typically seen in neurodegenerative diseases like alzheimer’s
disease.

13 comments on “2-Minute Neuroscience: Concussions

  1. Stuart Briggs Post author

    Thank you; this just what I needed. I had two bad concussions which led to Cervical Dystonia (the step-brother of Parkinsons) and it's good to get a neurological explanation of what potentially happened.

    Reply
  2. Snowshowslow Post author

    Oof, I had a concussion and a lot of trouble from that, but it is a little disheartening to hear that that may not be the end of it. But good to know, I guess…

    Reply
  3. Charles Wild Post author

    Neuroscientifically Challenged – Thank you. My thoughts on working memory, short term memory, medium term memory, long term memory. https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ADHD_Bulletin_Board/info – Charles Thomas Wild

    Reply
  4. Sudha Komma Post author

    Hello, I commented before how your videos got me to nationals in brain bee. I wanted to tell you I got 28th out of 123 people. Thank you so much.

    Reply

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