Here is what happens when your brain is shaken or stirred.


Taken from Newton’s Football:

What exactly is a concussion? Robert Cantu, co-director of Boston

University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy

and one of the world’s leading experts on head injuries, describes a

concussion as “an alteration in brain function induced by biomechanical

forces.” Those biomechanical forces include sudden acceleration

and then deceleration of the head, which can cause the brain

to crash into the inside of the skull or be twisted or strained in such

a way that certain symptoms result. Those symptoms may include,

but are not limited to, headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and

noise, dizziness, amnesia, drowsiness, the inability to concentrate,

and fatigue. Some minor concussions resolve within minutes, while

in severe cases a post-concussion syndrome can last for years.

In general, the skull does a good job of protecting the brain

against the dangers that an early human might have encountered,

like a fall onto soft ground or getting hit with a small stick. Of

course, the skull—and the brain it’s protecting—fares less well

against modern dangers like bullets and motorcycle crashes. Or a

270-pound middle linebacker running at full speed and driving the

point of his helmet into your chin.


Learn more about the science behind football here:


Newton's Football

There is lots of news about CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is a brain disease, a neurological degenerative disease that is caused by repetitive hits to the head. The symptoms include dementia, memory loss, and depression. In the early twentieth century, this condition was called “punch-drunk” and was found in a number of boxers who ultimately were found to suffer from dementia. No cure for CTE is currently known, and at present it can only be identified postmortem.

Here is an excerpt from Newtons Football (Affiliate Link), which describes where doctors are:

In the field of head injuries, scientists have a lot to try to understand as they parse the puzzle of concussions and the related long-term degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
Just how does a concussive impact impair the function of the brain?

“You’ve got this metabolic crisis going on within the cell,” posits Robert Cantu, a professor of neurology at Boston University, as potassium ions flood out of the nerve cell, replaced by calcium ions, which prevent the cell from passing on information.”

Is there a genetic component to concussions and CTE?

“No one knows yet, but studies are focused on a variant of a common lipid transport gene called ApoE-e4. This gene does good things making sure fat goes to the right place,” says Robert Stern, a professor of neurology at Boston University, “but if you have the wrong form it does something crazy in the brain.” He adds that “it is a susceptibility gene, as opposed to a deterministic gene. If you have the wrong form, it increases your risk of having the disease, but it does not mean you will get it,” Stern explains. “There is not going to be a CTE gene because it is such a multifaceted disease.”


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