Tag Archives: brain

New Advice to Move More After a Concussion

When young athletes sustain concussions, they are typically told to rest until all symptoms disappear. That means no physical activity, reading, screen time, or friends, and little light exposure, for multiple days and, in severe cases, weeks.

Restricting all forms of activity after a concussion is known as “cocooning.” But now new guidelines, written by an international panel of concussion experts and published this month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, question that practice. Instead of cocooning, the new guidelines suggest that most young athletes should be encouraged to start being physically active within a day or two after the injury.

“The brain benefits from movement and exercise, including after a concussion,” says Dr. John Leddy, a professor of orthopedics at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, and one of the co-authors of the new guidelines.

There has long been controversy, of course, about the best ways to identify and treat sports-related concussions. Twenty years ago, athletes who banged their heads during play were allowed to remain in the practice or game, even if they stumbled, seemed disoriented, or were “seeing stars.” Little was known then about any possible immediate or long-term consequences from head trauma during sports or about the best responses on the sidelines and afterward.

Since then, mounting evidence has indicated that sports-related concussions are not benign and require appropriate treatment. The question has been what these appropriate treatments should be.

To read the full story, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

Being Physically Fit Improves Brain Function

There are a lot of good reasons to stay physically fit into middle age. Better sleep, muscle strength, heart health, and even mental performance are all perks of keeping up with exercise. And now, a new study shows that staying in shape in your 40s might even help protect your brain from shrinking later on in life.

Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine found an association between brain tissue volume at age 60 and physical fitness levels in a person’s 40s. Specifically, people in their 40s who had lower fitness levels or had a higher rise in diastolic blood pressure (the lower number in a blood pressure reading) or heart rate after spending a few minutes on a slower-moving treadmill (2.5 miles an hour) were more likely to have smaller brain tissue volume at age 60.

Researchers explained that when someone is not very physically fit, his or her blood pressure and heart rate will be much higher in response to just low levels of exercise, compared with someone who is physically fit.

“People with lower fitness levels tend to have higher blood pressure (upper arm) response to even lower-levels of exercise,” study researcher Nicole L. Spartano, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Boston University School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Health. “Therefore, during everyday activities, people with lower fitness levels may have higher blood pressure spikes throughout the day compared to people with higher fitness levels.”

To read more, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary