An article in the new issue of Neurotherapeutics focuses on the the relationship between concussive insults to the brain and neurodegenerative chronic conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disrease and others. The article posits that the neurodegenerative effects of the brain trauma have been studied extensively, but have not focused sufficiently on the impact of swelling of the brain following injury.
"Brain inflammation is a key issue, and it has been under-emphasized," says Dr. Faden. "Recent brain imaging studies, including those in former professional football players, indicate that persistent brain inflammation after a single moderate head injury or repeated milder traumatic brain injury may be very common, and may contribute to cognitive problems. In addition, larger studies indicate that brain inflammation persists for many months or years in many people with traumatic brain injury."
The authors of the study believe that experimental medications and exercise can block brain inflammation and may therefore block the long term neurodegeneration associated with traumatic brain injury.