Increased Iron Levels In The Brian Could Be a Sign Of Concussion, Study Shows

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Researchers from the American Academy of Neurology have found a correlation between headaches and increased iron levels in the brains of concussion patients. This suggests a potential link between headaches and brain cell injury following a concussion.

Iron buildup in brain could be a sign of concussion

Study author Simona Nikolova, PhD, from Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, suggests that iron buildup in the brain could serve as a biomarker for concussions and post-traumatic headache Nikolova says that the study’s findings may aid in understanding the associated processes.

The study involved 60 participants experiencing post-traumatic headaches resulting from mild traumatic brain injury (concussion). Most injuries were caused by falls (45%), motor vehicle accidents (30%), and fights (12%), with other causes including head hitting objects and sports injuries. Of the participants, 46% had experienced one mild traumatic brain injury, 17% had two, 16% had three, 5% had four, and 16% had five or more such injuries.

Individuals with mild traumatic brain injuries were paired with 60 counterparts who hadn’t experienced concussions or post-traumatic headaches. Brain scans were conducted on all participants to assess iron levels in different brain regions as an indirect measure of iron burden. The scans for those with mild traumatic brain injuries occurred approximately 25 days after the injury.

Frequency of concussion correlates with extent of iron buildup

According to study findings individuals with a history of concussions and headaches exhibit increased iron accumulation in various brain regions compared to those without concussions. Specifically, the left occipital area, right cerebellum, and right temporal lobe show heightened iron levels. The frequency of concussions and headaches correlates with the extent of iron accumulation, with longer intervals since the last concussion associated with higher iron levels in the brain.

A study suggests that iron accumulation in the brain can influence its interactivity, potentially shedding light on concussion recovery mechanisms. However, the study’s indirect measure of iron burden leaves room for other factors like hemorrhage or tissue water changes to impact results. The findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 76th Annual Meeting.

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