Why We Get Headaches From Exercise

Headaches happen for myriad reasons: dehydration, eyestrain, drinking a wee bit much the previous night, and exercising. Yes, exercise too, and they’re just as annoying as any other headache. Here’s the difference between exercise headaches and regular head pains, and how you can best treat or avoid them.

Source: Why We Get Headaches From Exercise

Mild Concussion? Simple Blood Test Might Detect Injury Up to a Week After

A barely bruised brain can send out molecular SOS signals in the blood for days after an injury, researchers report this week in JAMA Neurology.

The finding suggests that new blood tests, already in development to detect those signals, may be able to identify even the mildest concussions well after a knock to the head.

Source: Mild concussion? Simple blood test can detect injury up to a week after

Concussions are a clinical diagnosis, and not determined by imaging such as a CT scan of the brain.  Most people who have a concussion have a normal CT. From reading the abstract, it appears that the CT was performed to rule out an intracranial lesion (such as a subdural hematoma) which is a related but different issue from a concussion. The utility of the blood test would be to detect evidence of a recent concussive event without the need to perform neurologic testing.

This is an interesting assessment of the news: http://www.healthnewsreview.org/review/new-blood-test-detect-concussions/

Warfarin/Coumadin = Concussion?

Being on warfarin/coumadin does not make us at more risk for concussions – it increases the risk for intracranial bleeding, most often [when it happens] is a subdural hematoma (SDH). Patients with even mild head injuries who are on warfarin/coumadin who come to the emergency department almost always receive a CT scan to check for a SDH. Some recommendations even say that they should all received a second CT in 12-24 hours to check for any delayed bleeding. But this is entirely different than a concussion.

There is a chance that this would help reduce the number of CTs though. The article indicates that the blood tests are elevated in people with SDH as well as other intracranial bleeding types. Therefore it may be possible to derive a guideline that if a patient on warfarin/coumadin with a head injury has a negative blood test, then a scan wouldn’t be necessary. That would definitely be helpful.

What to Do If You Think You Have a Sports-Related Concussion

Concussions aren’t just for NFL players. They can happen while playing in a weekend sports league or even from an unlucky slip and fall. If you know how to spot a concussion and where to find good treatment, you can avoid the risk of further injury.

Source: What to Do If You Think You Have a Sports-Related Concussion

I’d check the recovery plan with a actual medical professionals.  There’s a big risk that sleeping or loosing consciousness can lead to death from a concussion, so it’s best to be monitored by someone for the first 24 hours or so.

I remember first seeing the signs of a concussion in a high school rugby player.  They kept repeating the same questions, over and over, while still participating in the game.  Only the coach seemed to know what was going on, called the player off and as I understand – the guy never played rugby ever again.  I don’t know that the referee knew what was happening.

How to Know if Your Concussion Needs Special Treatment

Breakthrough therapies are helping athletes recover from injuries previously thought untreatable. But many doctors remain unaware of the advancements.

…For decades, doctors have told concussed athletes like Fraser to rest, avoid bright lights, and limit activity. Having had one concussion places you at greater risk for another, they thought. But emerging science says that’s bunk: You can recover from a concussion, with active treatments that re-condition the injured parts of your brain.

Source: The New Science of Concussion Recovery

New research is finding that people with long-standing symptoms recover faster when they get to practice certain tasks, training their brains to recover the function that was lost.

Tip: If you suffer a concussion, have an optician check your retina. A concussion can cause tears in the retina.