A Study on the Effects of Concussion and Head Impacts on the Acceleration of Brain Aging

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Updated: Nov 19, 2022
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Brain aging can be sped up by concussions and lesser impacts to the head. The impacts cause signaling pathways in the brain to deplete quicker than in people who haven’t suffered a brain injury.

The University of Michigan took a group of college students, ranging from zero head impacts to sever head trauma. They found changes in gait, balance, electrical activity within the brain, especially attention and impulse control. On the outside all participants looked the same, but signs of decline were present as soon as 6 years after. Their hypothesis is, “concussions and head impacts accelerate the brain’s natural aging process.” Though their study doesn’t mean that just because a person had a concussion they’re going to get Alzheimer’s, or rapid aging of their brain. Their hypothesis just leads to the conclusion that getting hit in the head can cause other problems, but it’s not a definite of how everything comes together. Other lifestyle choices can also cause your brain to age quicker, such as smoking, high levels of stress or family issues.

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The University conducted the study by asking participants to perform tasks in front of a computer and imaged their brains. Concluding that people without head injuries had a greater amount of electrical activation vs. those with a head injury. Comparing our brain signal to a highway, UM stated, “On a new highway, traffic runs smoothly and quickly as all lanes are in top shape. However, during normal aging, the asphalt deteriorates and lanes might become bumpy or even unusable. Traffic slows.” Our brains are going to age no matter what, but what the researchers are implying is impacts to the head can cause the rate to increase. Brain again essentially means that the pathways within our brain begin to break down and can’t transfer the information as quick as they used to, and the head trauma can cause bumps in the road which cause traffic to build up.

The more concussions and head impacts a person receives the higher the risk that the rate of aging of the brain increases. The researchers will continue their study by testing older people.

With all the recent investigations into concussions relating to professional football and hockey, this article comes in a timely manner. I agree with this article, the more head trauma a person receives, the higher the risk of quicker brain aging. Just as the study with the professional athletes who have multiple head traumas over the course of 20+ years. They have a higher rate of early dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, and death. These results can be from a multitude of things or combinations from playing professional sports.

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A Study on the Effects of Concussion and Head Impacts on the Acceleration of Brain Aging. (2022, Nov 19). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-study-on-the-effects-of-concussion-and-head-impacts-on-the-acceleration-of-brain-aging/