Douglas H. Smith, MD, is the Robert A. Groff Endowed Professor Neurosurgery and Director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the Scientific Director of the Big 10/Ivy League Collaboration on Concussion and also serves as a member on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the US National Football League (NFL), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)-DoD consortium on concussion, and the International Concussion Society.
This is the second part of a two-part series. In this one, he points out that:
We find that when we are looking at over time the changes of profiles, it means they are appearing and disappearing. How does that look like compared to the appearance of those proteins in the blood? We are finding an interesting correlation that is kind of a combination between how open the blood brain barrier is and how much axon pathology is. It has become possible to diagnose the 20 percent of patients who will have persistent symptoms at the time they come to the ED and then we can direct them to you in rehabilitation. The next step is to have a clinical trial. He asked how all this links with neurodegeneration? Within hours of an injury, it can begin to look like an Alzheimer’s disease brain. Something is going on that is crazy. An axon injury is one that can keep on taking. Tau is what gets all the big news. It may be too simplistic a view. It is not just tau. It actually is a whole bunch of things happening to the brain. Many other different types of neuropathologies occur in the brain that are initiated by injury. A subset of patients will develop these changes. If males dominate concussions, which they do, in theory you would think that they possibly would dominate dementia or mild cognitive impairment later in life, but that is not true. Women have a higher rate. There is a lot of work to be done. A lot of people who have concussions are going to be fine and we need to find a way to avoid having people worry and cause stress. A Question and Answer period followed the presentation.