Despite the recent hype around head injuries in football and other contact sports, it's not just athletes at risk for mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI), commonly called concussions.1 In fact, concussions can occur even without a blow to the head. They're caused when any external force shakes or jostles the brain inside the skull. This can happen in slips and falls, as well as car and bike accidents.
Forty percent of TBIs occur after a fall.1 Falls are most common in children and the elderly, causing more than half of all concussions in children under 14 years old and more than 80 percent of those in people over age 65.1
Here are some other important facts around concussion:
Learn the Symptoms of Concussion
Many people don't realize that a concussion can be difficult to diagnose since there is no test that is 100 percent accurate in helping to detect TBI. Current methods for diagnosis, such as basic questions and answers during a doctor's exam, are fairly subjective. CT scans can help, but the majority of mild TBIs show normal imaging even though an injury has occurred. Because of this, many concussions continue to go unnoticed and untreated. That's why Abbott is working to develop a quick and accurate blood test designed to detect specific proteins that are released in the blood when someone has a brain injury.
It's important to recognize symptoms of concussion, such as:
When it comes to concussion, Dr. Beth McQuiston, M.D., board certified neurologist and medical director in Abbott's Diagnostics business, recommends remembering to stay on PAR.
During Brain Injury Awareness Month, we encourage everyone to learn how to recognize concussion symptoms. The sooner people are diagnosed with concussion, the sooner they can rest and recover to prevent long-term effects of their injury and so they can resume their daily, healthy and active lives.
To learn more about TBI, treatment and prevention, visit the following:
1 Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Fact Sheet. Website: http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html
2 Skerrett, PJ. New concussion guidelines say “When in doubt, sit it out.” Harvard Health. March 18, 2013. Website: www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-concussion-guidelines-say-when-in-doubt-sit-it-out-201303185994. Accessed Feb. 25, 2015.
3 Concussion in Sports. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Website: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/index.html
4 Concussion and Sports. BrainLine.org. Website: www.brainline.org/content/2008/12/concussion-and-sports.html
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