A Better Way To Evaluate Concussions?

A concussion is a form of brain damage. And the brain, as we all know, is a very complex piece of equipment. It’s not easy to tell how bad the damage is.

Some patients may seem fine to start with, but within weeks they may develop serious symptoms that could be with them for years to come.

Sometimes migraine symptoms will develop. But sometimes they won’t. Sometimes recovery will be fairly quick, sometimes not.

Typically, your doctor will give you a neurological examination, checking for vision problems, hearing problems, changed in your coordination or balance. If your doctor is concerned about some serious symptoms, either from the exam or from diagnosis of headaches or nausea, he may request some type of scan, such as a CT or MRI.

The MRI can assess white matter injury in the brain. A mean fractional anisotropy (FA) is one way to assess how much damage has been done. But because everyone’s brain is different to start with, the FA measure doesn’t always give reliable results.

Dr. Joseph Delic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and his team investigated the value of another technique, known as Shannon entropy (SE) analysis, to see if it would give more accurate results. And in the opinion of the study authors, it does.

In fact, someone with a SE below a certain level were 16 times more likely to develop migraine from concussion. Also, the lower the SE the longer the recovery.

If doctors have access to a better way to assess patients with concussion, they will be better able to provide treatment over the long term, and avoid treatment that isn’t needed.

For more, read the information on the study from the Radiological Society of North America: Technique Helps Predict Likelihood of Migraines in Concussion Patients, and this article in ScienceDaily: Technique helps predict likelihood of migraines in concussion patients.

Also see: Is it Concussion or Migraine? and Concussion: Tests and diagnosis

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