The Concerning State of Concussion Care
by Shane McPartland | May 16, 2020
3.8 Million. According to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), that’s how many people suffer concussions every year. Concussions have jumped into the public consciousness, especially as they relate to contact sports like Football. The CDC defines concussions as “a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.” These rapid accelerations and decelerations can alter brain chemistry, cause bleeding and damage or stretch brain cells, depending on the severity of the concussion. Common symptoms include headaches, forgetfulness, dulling of the senses, mental fogginess, slurred speech, and a multitude of others.
Despite the association of concussion with athletics, many concussions occur off the court or field in everyday life. Particularly vulnerable groups like the elderly and young children can acquire concussions from seemingly unremarkable accidents such as falling, which is actually the leading cause of concussions. While there has been great progress made in terms of raising awareness of TBI’s and concussions, there is still a great deal of room for improvement.
Possibility of Severe Symptoms
Fortunately, most people with Concussions are symptom-free and recovered within a few weeks. But some face more severe damage and less clear paths to good health. The most prominent long term effect of concussions is Post-concussion syndrome or Post-concussive syndrome (PCS), which is essentially the continuation of concussion symptoms for abnormally extended periods of time such as months or even years. Some experience lengthy spells of memory loss, fatigue, and more. Older people and women may be more prone to suffering from PCS, but it may be caused by women not avoiding medical care as much as men. Cognitive issues can be prolonged, affecting memory and concentration and taking away from people’s quality of life.
A Dearth of Treatment Options
The current remedies for concussions are essentially rest, stress reduction, migraine, or headache medication such as Advil and in rare cases anti-depressants or other psychological treatments. There are no specialized treatments for those with PCS. Resting and some moderately potent or non-specific medicine are likely sufficient for the majority of mild concussions, but those with severe concussions and post-concussion syndrome face a startling shortage of tools to aid them in their road to recovery. This is certainly a problem, but it is also a major opportunity for innovation from health care companies, startups, researchers, technical and medical professionals to improve patient outcomes and make the world a healthier, better place.
We at Frenalytics hope to be a part of the solution and help ameliorate the current long-term treatment situation for traumatic brain injuries. Through virtual, free, and personalized cognitive therapy, we are trying to create a new paradigm for long-term TBI, Dementia, and PCS treatment. With Frenalytics, family members and clinicians can input personalized information about a patient, and custom multiple-choice questions help them to recover more quickly compared to traditional treatment options. This patient-centered approach will enhance the world of rehabilitation for those suffering from severe concussions and a plethora of other conditions.