Even mild concussions can cause lasting brain damage: study

Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom – A mild or moderate concussion may have longer-lasting consequences than previously known, according to a recent study from Newcastle University.

Researchers in the United Kingdom studied 44 people with mild concussions, nine with moderate concussions and 33 participants with no brain injury. All participants took thinking and memory skill tests and underwent an imaging test to show brain cell damage.

Participants with concussions had thinking and memory test scores 25 percent lower than those of healthy people. One year after injury, the scores for people with and without concussions were similar, but those with brain injuries still had evidence of brain damage on imaging tests, with clear signs of continued disruption to crucial brain cells. Researchers concluded that the recovery of thinking skills can take a long time.

Minor concussions can be caused by events such as falling off a bike, a slow-speed car crash or a fistfight.

The study was published online July 16 in the journal Neurology.