TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

UPMC receives grant to study concussions

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 11:36 p.m.
 

Detailed images of broken cables in the brain could pave the way for better treatment of sports-related concussions, researchers at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh said Thursday.

The images, produced by sophisticated technology called high-definition fiber-tracking, will be the focus of a study at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.

Concussions, caused by a sudden blow to the head, create tiny breaks in the brain that can lead to lasting damage, said Walter Schneider, a senior scientist and professor of psychology and neurological surgery at Pitt's Learning Research and Development Center.

“This technology gives us the ability to see the damage so we hope to track its recovery,” Schneider said. “In the same way X-rays let us track a fracture or look at the healing process, we expect to see these broken brain cables and look at their healing.”

Breaks in the brain-cell network don't show up in traditional MRIs or CT scans typically used on athletes who have potentially sustained a concussion, Schneider said.

The high-definition fiber-tracking, which Pitt used to examine the brains of wounded soldiers, uses sophisticated algorithms to produce yellow, green and purple images of fiber tracts in the brain.

The one-year study will be financed by a $300,000 grant awarded by General Electric and the National Football League. The study was one of 402 proposals submitted as part of the NFL and General Electric's $40 million Head Health Initiative.

The study will enroll 50 more athletes, ages 13 to 28, who sustained a head injury within seven days of seeking care at UPMC's concussion program.

In addition to Schneider, the study's principal investigators are Anthony Kontos and Micky Collins, both with the UPMC concussion program.

“We have to treat concussions with respect, because if you reinjure during the sensitive period of recovery, it can lead to lasting damage,” Schneider said.

Luis Fábregas is Trib Total Media's medical editor. He can be reached at 412-320-7998 or lfabregas@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Protest planned Monday at Plum Borough High School
  2. Senior at Pittsburgh’s CAPA school focuses spotlight on homeless students
  3. Poor infrastructure may hinder aid efforts in Nepal after earthquake
  4. Allegheny County Council will have new look
  5. District 7 candidates for Pittsburgh council vow to protect poorer communities
  6. Forbes Avenue jeweler’s embedded sidewalk sign safely slides out to make way for Pittsburgh Playhouse project
  7. It’s business, but not as usual in Pittsburgh
  8. Newsmakers: Danielle and Patrik McKain
  9. Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority approves $2.1M in loans for Larimer, East Liberty housing project
  10. Allegheny County DA, Monroeville police team to reduce drug activity, violent crime
  11. North Allegheny OKs $20.5 million in contracts for renovations