Pathophysiology and symptoms of concussion
June 23, 2015
Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury defined as a complex pathophysiologic process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces secondary to direct or indirect forces to the head. A blow or jolt to the head disrupting the function of the brain.
Concussion can involve physical, cognitive, emotional and sleep related symptoms which vary from individual to individual in severity and duration.
On CT and MRI there are usually no structural changes to the brain found but there are thought to be neuronal dysfunction resulting from metabolic and physiologic changes which include
1). Release of excitatory neurotransmitters.
2). Altered cerebral blood flow.
3). Changes in glucose metabolism.
4). Production of lactic acid and free radicals.
5). Mitochondrial dysfunction.
6). Axonal injury
(from Giza CC, Hovda DA. The neurometabolic cascade of concussion. J Athl Train.2001)
These changes can result in a variety of symptoms including
• Difficulty concentrating and completing tasks
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Noise sensitivity
• Poor cognitive performance
• Sleep disturbances
• Light sensitivity and double or blurred vision
(from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Taken from an article by Pat F Bass III, MD, MS, MPH Aug 01,2014