Monday November 12, 2018

On an average, One in Four Americans reported to have had a Concussion

The progression of recovery from a concussion depends on the severity of the injury itself. The most common victims of concussions are young, active individuals

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A lateral view of the human brain. Wikimedia COmmons
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  • 1 in 4 Americans claim they have had a concussion at one point in time
  • The most common victims of concussions are young, active individuals
  • The progression of recovery from a concussion depends on the severity of the injury itself

Today in our society we see more attention drawn to concussions and the aftermath of the injury. Most recently Hollywood put out a new movie, Concussion, starring Will Smith. The movie follows the story of a doctor who is researching the effects of repeated concussions in football players. Now, not all of us are out on the field wearing shoulder pads and helmets.

The reality of the situation is that concussions are not only common in contact sports. According to a NPR poll conducted, almost 1 in 4 Americans claim they have had a concussion at one point in time. Luckily over 75% of these Americans sought medical attention.

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Smaller hits to the head can be categorized as sub-concussive hits. These smaller hits build up over time; what starts out as a small bump every now and then, overtime, may result in a full-blown concussion. According to Dr. Harry Kerasidis, it all depends on the health of your brain.

To clarify, every time you hit your head does not mean you will be diagnosed as concussed. After hitting your head in small doses overtime, one more minuscule hit to the head may result in a concussion due to the fact that you had hit your head in smaller doses overtime.

Concussions have the tendency to be sneaky and have various symptoms. What you may think is just a relentless headache, may actually be a concussion. Other symptoms include a loss of consciousness, nausea and/or vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, cloudy thinking and problems with memory. Unfortunately, it is common for these symptoms to go unnoticed for minutes, hours, and sometimes even days. These delayed symptoms push back the aid that medical attention can provide.

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Before diving into treatment of concussions, it is important to point out what happens to the brain when a concussion occurs. The brain floats in cerebral spinal fluid inside the skull. The fluid acts as a buffer between the organ and the skull itself.

A concussion is when the brain rapidly moves within the skull and the cerebral spinal fluid cannot protect the brain from hitting the inner skull. When a blow to the head occurs, the brain accelerates and quickly hits one side of the skull. In the deceleration process, the brain hits the opposite side of the skull before settling back into place.

Causes of concussion in children. Image source: .dixinary.com
Causes of concussion in children. Image source: .dixinary.com

Another potential reaction of the brain to a traumatic blow is known as a rotational concussion. During this, the brain moves from one side to the other in a rapid movement. More often than not this results in shearing and straining of brain tissues. Either situation can cause long term neurological issues.

Treatment of concussions typically follows one major guideline; the injured person needs to rest. Simply laying down on the couch will not suffice. It is advised that the concussed person physically and mentally rest to allow the brain to fully rest. Avoiding stimulating situations such as classrooms, reading, and watching television is advised. Physical activity is frowned upon. Easing back into everyday activities is advised. Going back to life all at once can cause overstimulation, and symptoms may reappear.

Different concussion effects. Image source: isaacphysio.com
Different concussion effects. Image source: isaacphysio.com

The progression of recovery from a concussion depends on the severity of the injury itself. When not properly treated long term effect may ensue in the individual, if all seems fine, the next head injury they sustain may be that much worse. It is best to seek and obtain medical attention regardless of the severity of the concussion.

The most common victims of concussions are young, active individuals. Most of these young folks are concussed due to participation in a contact sport. As previously stated, Hollywood produced the film Concussion, stemming from football players.

Today, concussions are gaining notoriety because many professional athletes are speaking out on the matter. Is the attention surrounding concussions too much? In the same poll conducted by NPR, 11 percent of people said the attention concussions receive is exaggerated, 80 percent thought it was appropriate, and the remaining 7 percent simply did know.

-by Abigail Andrea. Abigail is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter @abby_kono

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This should be taken care of as it involves risks and is mostly found in young adults.

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NASA to Send Organ-on-Chips To Test Human Tissue Health in Space

Called a micro-physiological system, a tissue chip needs three main properties

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NASA, tissue
NASA to send tissue chips to space to test human health, genetic changes. Flcikr

NASA is planning to send small devices containing human cells in a 3D matrix — known as tissue chips or organs-on-chips — to the International Space Station (ISS) to test how they respond to stress, drugs and genetic changes.

Made of flexible plastic, tissue chips have ports and channels to provide nutrients and oxygen to the cells inside them.

The “Tissue Chips in Space” initiative seeks to better understand the role of microgravity on human health and disease and to translate that understanding to improved human health on Earth, NASA said.

“Spaceflight causes many significant changes in the human body,” said Liz Warren, Associate Program Scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) in the US.

Kepler, NASA, tissue
This illustration made available by NASA shows the Kepler Space Telescope. As of October 2018, the planet-hunting spacecraft has been in space for nearly a decade. VOA

“We expect tissue chips in space to behave much like an astronaut’s body, experiencing the same kind of rapid change,” Warren said.

The US space agency is planning the investigations in collaboration with CASIS and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes for Health (NIH).

Many of the changes in the human body caused by microgravity resemble the onset and progression of diseases associated with ageing on Earth, such as bone and muscle loss. But the space-related changes occur much faster.

That means scientists may be able to use tissue chips in space to model changes that might take months or years to happen on Earth.

Parkinson's Disease, Kepler, NASA, tissue
A researcher takes a tissue sample from a human brain at the Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s UK Tissue Bank, VOA

This first phase of Tissue Chips in Space includes five investigations. An investigation of immune system ageing is planned for launch on the SpaceX CRS-16 flight, scheduled for this year.

The other four, scheduled to launch on SpaceX CRS-17 or subsequent flights, include lung host defense, the blood-brain barrier, musculoskeletal disease and kidney function.

In addition, four more projects are scheduled for launch in summer 2020, including two on engineered heart tissue to understand cardiovascular health, one on muscle wasting and another on gut inflammation.

Kepler, NASA, tissue
“Detecting life in an agnostic fashion means not using characteristics particular to Earth life,” said Heather Graham at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Pixabay

Also called a micro-physiological system, a tissue chip needs three main properties, according to Lucie Low, scientific programme manager at National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences in the US.

Also Read: NASA’s Ralph Will Explore Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids in 2021

“It has to be 3D, because humans are 3D,” she explained.

“It must have multiple, different types of cells, because an organ is made up of all kinds of tissue types. And it must have microfluidic channels, because every single tissue in your body has vasculature to bring in blood and nutrients and to take away detritus,” she added. (IANS)