Even mild head injuries can cause significant abnormalities in brain function that last for several days, which may explain the neurological symptoms experienced by some individuals who have experienced a head injury associated with sports, accidents or combat, according to a study by Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers, published in the May issue the Journal of Neuroscience.
Previous research has shown that even a mild case of TBI can result
in long-lasting neurological issues that include slowing of cognitive
processes, confusion, chronic headache, posttraumatic stress disorder
The research team, demonstrated for the first time, using
sophisticated bioimaging and electrophysiological approaches, that mild
injury can cause structural disruption of axons in the brain while also
changing the way the neurons fire in areas where they have not been
structurally altered. Axons are nerve fibers in the brain responsible
for conducting electrical impulses. The team used models of mild
traumatic brain injury and followed morphologically identified neurons
in live cortical slices.