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Can Concussions Cause Parkinson’s Disease

Concussion Side Effects May Cause Gastrointestinal Problems: Study

  • December 18, 2017

New research points to a strong link between the gut and brain, suggesting that individuals may experience harmful side effects in the gastrointestinal tract after a suffering a concussion or traumatic brain injury

In a study published in the November 2017 issue of the medical journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, researchers indicate that people who suffered a head injury or severe concussion, also often experience long-term changes to their gastrointestinal systems.

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine induced a moderate level traumatic brain injury in some mice. They then examined changes in the mucosal barrier properties of the gastrointestinal system and colon and compared that to the mice without TBI.

The study focused on enteric glial cell response in the gut after brain trauma. Researchers also infected some mice with Citrobacter rodentium, a bacteria that causes similar symptoms in mice as E. coli does in humans.

The result indicate that there is a distinct, two-way link between traumatic brain injury and intestinal changes after a head injury, suggesting that brain injuries may contribute to increased infections in affected patients. Similarly, gut infections may worsen chronic brain damage.

Researchers noted that brain injuries in the mice triggered delayed long-term changes in the colon, making it more permeable after trauma and allowing harmful microbes to move from the intestine to other parts of the body.

Boxing Can Injure You

Boxing is a unique sport. The main goal here is to injure your opponent. Unfortunately, the injury can lead to brain damage, especially if the match results in a knockout.

Because boxing can often lead to brain damage, the American Academy of Neurology called for the abolition of boxing as a sport. The organization called it obscenity.

Unfortunately, boxing is a lucrative job. Many boxers, like Muhammad Ali, Mayweather, and Pacquiao, earned millions of dollars every game.

Even the greatest boxers are not immune to head injuries.

What Does This Mean

The study confirms that concussions are an important risk factor of Parkinsons disease. Indeed, having a concussion increases the risk of developing Parkinsons disease by 57%. Additionally, this risk is more than tripled when a person has had at least three concussions.

Further studies are needed to properly understand how concussions increase the risk of developing Parkinsons disease. This study nevertheless shows that measures must be taken to prevent and better handle concussions.

Causes And Risk Factors

The causes of Parkinsons disease are multifactorial and still not entirely agreed upon. Researchers now know that both genetic factors and certain environmental/lifestyle habits contribute to Parkinsons development. While the exact combination of factors causing Parkinsons disease have yet to be proved definitively, a few theories show strong validity.

Factors that contribute to Parkinsons disease include:

  • Genetics: Recently theres been some major advances in the field of cognitive disorders, including identifying several genes that put someone at a great risk for disorders like Parkinsons, as well as locating regions of the brain involved in age-related cognitive decline.
  • Brain cell deterioration and inflammation: The latest research suggests that deterioration of an area of the brain called the substantia nigra plays a role in cognitive disorders, including Parkinsons. The substantia nigra normally produces brain cells that are responsible for neurotransmitter production, including making the chemical dopamine, which is crucial for learning, muscle control, memory and behavior regulation.
  • Toxicity and exposure to chemicals
  • Poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle
  • Hormonal imbalances and other medical conditions

Research shows that risk factors for Parkinsons disease can include:

Models Of Tbi And Their Application In Pd Research

Concussions and Parkinson

While no single animal model of TBI will ever recapitulate all features of human TBI, each of the models discussed below can answer specific questions about aspects of human TBI.

Certain mechanistic questions can be best addressed with primary or model neurons in culture. One such method involves growing neuronal cells on a silastic membrane that is then stretched using compressed gas mimicking torsional stress experience by neurons during TBI. This biaxial stretch injury model has been adopted for use in a variety of immortalized and primary cells and has led to a better understanding of primary astrocyte and immortalize neuron cell specific responses to injury . In both studies, cell injury controllers were used to deliver a stretch injury to a monoculture of cells on a silastic membrane. The in vitro studies show that cellular responses are quantifiable and track with severity of injury in both astrocytes and immortalized neuronal cells.

Table 1 Rodent TBI injury models. Controlled cortical impact , Fluid percussion injury , Penetrating ballistic brain injury , and closed head injury weight drop are the most commonly used injury methods

A Single Concussion May Increase Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease

American Academy of Neurology
People who have been diagnosed with a mild concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury, may have a 56 percent increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

People who have been diagnosed with a mild concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury, may have a 56 percent increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a study published in the April 18, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Previous research has shown a strong link between moderate to severe traumatic brain injury and an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease but the research on mild traumatic brain injury has not been conclusive,” said senior study author Kristine Yaffe, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Our research looked a very large population of U.S. veterans who had experienced either mild, moderate or severe traumatic brain injury in an effort to find an answer to whether a mild traumatic brain injury can put someone at risk.”

A total of 1,462 of the participants were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at least one year and up to 12 years after the start of the study. The average time to diagnosis was 4.6 years.

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Physical And Mental Rest

After you address any build up of spinal fluid, doctors will suggest physical and mental rest after a concussion.

For several days, avoid unnecessary physical activities. After that, avoid any activities that exacerbate your symptoms.

For a few days, avoid any activities that involve a lot of thinking or concentration:

  • Watching TV

Exclusion Of Patients And Controls

We have shown previously that patients with PD start treatment with antiparkinson drugs on average 3 years before their first hospital contact for PD, indicating that the patients have had symptoms of PD before they were in contact with a hospital due to their disease. Thus, in order to further reduce the risk for including patients with PD symptoms due to other neurologic conditions than PD, we excluded 14 interviewed patients and 22 controls who had had a hospital contact for dementia or cerebrovascular disease any time between the start of the Hospital Register in 1977 to 3 years before the index date. We also excluded one case with unknown onset of first symptoms in addition to 108 cases and 102 controls for whom there was no self-reported information on the never/ever question on head injury, resulting in 1,705 cases and 1,785 controls for the analyses.

Pathology Overlap Between Tbi And Pd

TBI sequalae can be divided in to 3 phases: acute , post-acute , and chronic . During the acute period cell necrosis from direct transfer of force to the brain tissue occurs, followed by secondary cell death from axonal pathology, and inflammation. The post-acute period can be characterized by neuronal remodeling, decreased inflammation, and an increase in chronic pathology . Chronic pathology of most interest here includes, neurodegeneration, protein misfolding , and persistent inflammation. Chronic TBI pathology can vary, with some patients recovering completely while others suffer physical and cognitive decline, and eventually develop neurodegenerative diseases , most notably Parkinsons Disease  .

PD as well as TBI brains are characterized by neuronal degeneration, compromised blood brain barrier, infiltration and expansion of resident microglia into the affected areas, and infiltration of phagocytic cells from the periphery . In both PD and following a TBI this histological presentation is accompanied by inflammation, metabolic disturbances, and protein aggregation, making them essential factors to consider when studying the mechanisms connecting these two disorders.

Figure 1



Protein aggregation

Football Scuffles Auto Injuries May Raise Risk For Parkinsons

Concussion Linked to 56 Percent Increase in Neurological Disease, UCSF Study Shows

A rear-ender in which the drivers head slams against the steering wheel or a helmet-to-helmet tussle with an opponent on the football field may increase ones risk for Parkinsons disease if concussion results, say researchers from the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

In their study, which publishes April 18, 2018, in the online issue of Neurology, the researchers looked at the prevalence of Parkinsons among close to one-third of a million veterans, comparing its incidence in those who had experienced a traumatic brain injury such as concussion with those who had not. They found that veterans who had had concussion faced a 56 percent increased risk for Parkinsons.

Concussion was defined as loss of consciousness for up to 30 minutes, altered consciousness or amnesia for up to 24 hours.

Concussions Vs Tbi Vs Cte

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury. A concussion occurs when you suffer a head injury, such as during sports, a car accident, or a fall. A concussion is often referred to as mild TBI.

TBI stands for traumatic brain injury. Concussions are a type of TBI, but there are other examples of TBI:

  • Lightning strikes
  • Whiplash
  • Shaking a baby

CTE stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. This is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by repetitive brain injuries. CTE accounts for all of the long term effects of concussions that weve been talking about.

Do Concussions Cause Parkinsons

Ive been told that concussions can increase the risk of Parkinsons disease? How great is the risk?

Andrew Weil, M.D. | September 17, 2018

Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects nerve cells in the part of the mid-brain responsible for muscle movement. Degeneration of these cells lowers brain levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing the tremors, rigidity, slow movements and difficulties with balance characteristic of the disease.

New research suggests that suffering even a mild concussion one type of traumatic brain injury can increase the risk of PD. This finding emerged from research that gathered medical information on 162,935 male and female military veterans diagnosed with TBI and compared them to the same number of people who hadnt had brain injuries but were similar in other respects. The veterans who had mild TBIs with little or no loss of consciousness were 56 percent more likely to develop Parkinsons than those who didnt have a history of these injuries. The increased risk was even higher 83 percent among veterans who had moderate to severe TBIs with longer loss of consciousness.

While these risks seem high, the study showed that out of 76,297 participants who had mild concussions only 360 0.47 percent developed PD. Even among the 72,592 vets who had suffered moderate to severe TBIs, only 543 0.75 percent eventually were diagnosed with the disease.

Andrew Weil, M.D.


How Common Are Concussions

Concussions and Parkinson

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost three million adults and children in the United States suffer a concussion each year. Each day, an average of 150 Americans die of traumatic brain injury. 

How does a concussion happen? The main causes of a concussion are head injuries from car accidents, falls, and sports-related concussions.

There are long-term effects of concussions in football. Football players are especially vulnerable to severe or mild traumatic brain injury.

Since it is a contact sport, football is a risk factor for long-term concussion symptoms. The NFL has been slow to admit the link between playing football and sports concussions. However, researchers have concluded there is indeed a link.

But American football is not the only dangerous sport. There are a few sports where a higher percentage of athletes suffer concussions:

  • Mens ice hockey
  • Womens ice hockey
  • Womens soccer

It is estimated that one third of former amateur contact sports athletes have CTE, which is a progressive brain disorder resulting from repetitive head injuries.

The long-term effects of multiple concussions can be even worse. The more often you are concussed, the more likely these symptoms of concussions will occur.

Engaging The Whole Body

Boxing is not just about punching. Instead, it involves head movement and footwork.

With that in mind, it can help you develop power and speed.

This workout stimulates the group of muscles you havent used before. After training, you will discover the strength that you never had before.

Most importantly, it trains your human heart.

Concussions May Increase The Risk For Parkinsons Disease

  • April 18, 2018

A traumatic brain injury, even a mild concussion, increases the risk for Parkinsons disease, a new study reports.

Researchers identified all patients diagnosed with T.B.I. in a Veterans Health Administration database 162,935 men and women and matched them with the same number of people with similar health and behavioral characteristics but who had not had a brain injury. The study is in Neurology.

Of the T.B.I. cases, half were mild, involving a blow to the head with some subsequent symptoms but with little or no unconsciousness. The rest were moderate to severe, involving extended unconsciousness or long-term symptoms.

After controlling for age, race, income and many medical and psychiatric diseases, they found that compared with those who had had no T.B.I., those with a mild T.B.I. had a 56 percent increased risk for Parkinsons disease; those with moderate to severe T.B.I. had an 83 percent increased risk.

We dont have brain autopsies, so we dont know what the underlying biology is, said the lead author, Dr. Raquel C. Gardner, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. But in Parkinsons you see abnormal protein accumulation, and theres some evidence that T.B.I. is linked to deposits of these abnormal proteins.

In any case, she said, This study provides the most definitive evidence that there is this association.

What Does It Mean

While the CDC considers most TBIs reported annually to be mild, this study found that experiencing a concussion may, in fact, be a substantial risk factor for developing Parkinsons disease and dementia .

Having a single concussion increased the risk of developing PD by 57% and dementia by 72%; and having multiple concussions further increased the risk of developing PD and dementia compared to people who suffered only one concussion. While additional studies are surely warranted, this study suggests that concussions should be taken more seriously by healthcare providers, as there may be unanticipated, long-term neurological effects.

Searching For The Missing Link

Now that scientists know there is a connection between concussion and increased risk for neurological decline the challenge is untangling what occurs in between.

Researchers suggest several possible mechanisms that could link concussion and mental decline. Perhaps the concussion triggers a cascade that increases abnormal protein buildup in the brain, a common hallmark of neurodegenerative diseases. The concussion might cause inflammation or vascular changes. Another theory is that the injury could make the brain more vulnerable overall, what the researchers call a loss of brain reserve.

More likely its a combination of different things in different people. In my opinion, its going to be proven to be multifactorial, said Raquel Gardner, MD, assistant professor of neurology, who was the lead author on the Parkinsons study.

Image by Larry Latour, PhD, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

But the time between an injury and future mental decline may be many years.

Most people who get Parkinsons or dementia get it late in life, so the lag between having a TBI early in life and getting a neurodegenerative disease could be decades, said Gardner.

Following patients for extended periods of time can be difficult, and the alternative, having patients report their own concussion history and cognitive changes, can be unreliable.

Researchers are also making progress on how to diagnose concussions early and, the ultimate challenge, how to counter their damage.

Study Links Severe Head Injury To Parkinson’s Risk

Researchers only found an association, could not explain why connection might exist

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 11, 2016 — A traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, new research suggests.

“It could be that the head injury itself initiates a cascade of effects that ultimately lead to Parkinson disease,” said lead researcher Dr. Paul Crane, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

Or, Crane added, the head injury may not cause Parkinson’s, but make it “more difficult for people who have sustained a head injury to recover, adjust to or deal with the cascade of events leading to Parkinson disease that are separate from the head injury itself.”

However, the study did not prove that a traumatic brain injury causes the risk of Parkinson’s to rise.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms worsen with time. Nearly 1 million Americans have the disorder. The cause is unknown and there is no cure. But, there are treatment options — such as medication and surgery — to manage symptoms, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

Crane’s team found that more than 1,500 suffered from dementia and 117 had Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers did not find an association between head injury with loss of consciousness and increased risk for dementia, Crane said.

JAMA Neurology

Can Als Be Caused By Concussions


Concussions Linked to Condition Similar to ALS. Aug. 17, 2010 — Repetitive head traumas and concussions, including the type sustained by many professional football players, may increase risk for developing a motor neuron disease that looks and acts a lot like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease

Also Know, what triggers ALS disease? Familial ALS is inherited. Other possible causes of ALS include: Disorganized immune response: The immune system may attack some of the body’s cells, possibly killing nerve cells. Chemical imbalance: People with ALS often have higher levels of glutamate, a chemical messenger in the brain, near the motor neurons.

In this way, can Football cause ALS?

Reports of injury during soccer, football and boxing are the most well reported cases. There is also the possibility that other parts of players’ athletic training experience, not just head trauma, are a risk factor for developing ALS. Research behind TBI supporting a connection between ALS and CTE is still unclear.

Can anesthesia cause ALS?

ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by death of upper and lower motor neurons. Due to the inherent muscle weakness, general anesthesia combined with muscle relaxants may cause fatal respiratory insufficiency in patients with ALS.

Ncaa Football Concussion Injury Lawyers

The trial lawyers of Raizner Slania have represented clients not only across the United States, but also internationally. Our team is leading the college football concussion lawsuits, helping college athletes around the nation recover damages for head injuries suffered during sports play. If you or someone you know played football in college and suffered from Parkinsons Disease, contact us today for a confidential free consultation.

Just One Concussion Could Raise Parkinson’s Risk

Concussions and Parkinson

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 18, 2018 — If you’ve ever had a mild concussion, your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease goes up by 56 percent, a new study of more than 300,000 U.S. veterans suggests.

“Upwards of 40 percent of adults have had a traumatic brain injury , so these findings are definitely concerning,” said study author Dr. Raquel Gardner. She is an assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

But Gardner stressed that the findings don’t mean everyone who has ever had a concussion is doomed to develop the degenerative neurological disorder that affects coordination of movement.

“Even in this study, the vast majority of veterans with traumatic brain injury did not develop Parkinson’s,” she said.

Dr. Rachel Dolhun, vice president of medical communications for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, pointed out the lifetime risk of Parkinson’s is probably about 1 to 2 percent, so a greater than 50 percent increase in that risk isn’t as alarming as it sounds.

“Having a TBI doesn’t definitively equate with getting Parkinson’s disease. The risk is still pretty small,” Dolhun said.

But these findings do lend credence to the idea that some professional athletes have developed Parkinson’s disease as a result of their athletic careers. The most famous is probably boxer Muhammad Ali.

Study volunteers were aged 31 to 65, and were followed for up to 12 years.


With Dangers Of Everyday Concussions Revealed Scientists Race To Find Solutions

Millions of Americans Suffer Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Every Year

Image by National Institutes of Health and the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine

A bump to the head from slipping on the stairs, falling off a skateboard, or running into an open cupboard door has long been seen as a temporary injury, something resolved with a little rest.

But a growing body of research suggests that, for some people, even concussions that seem mild can have serious, long-lasting consequences, including an increased risk of Parkinsons disease and dementia.

In the United States, nearly three million people every year visit the emergency room for traumatic brain injuries, with 70 percent to 90 percent sustaining so-called mild traumatic brain injuries , more commonly known as concussions. These numbers dont account for the many people who suffer concussions but do not seek medical attention.

Researchers at UC San Francisco are among the scientists working to understand how concussions cause long-term damage and how they might be treated.

Emergency Room Visits From Brain Injuries

Nearly 3 million people every year visit the emergency room for traumatic brain injuries.

Of those, 70 to 90 percent sustain so-called mild traumatic brain injuries, commonly called concussions.

Among traumatic brain injuries seen in emergency rooms, most are the result of car accidents.

Researchers say its important to avoid a second concussion before the first one heals, because repeated concussions multiply the damage. Cognitive rehabilitation exercises, like specially designed video games, may also help boost brain reserve.

Follow-up care to treat symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, depression and anxiety can help prevent lasting disability, according to Manley, professor of neurosurgery. Manley is the principal investigator of the multicenter TRACK-TBI study, the largest precision medicine study of TBI to date, which is tracking thousands of people nationwide who visit the emergency room for head trauma.

TRACK-TBI has found that less than half of patients who visit the emergency room for concussion received any follow-up within three months, including educational materials and doctors visits.      

Many of those who arent being seen are suffering and need medical attention, he said. Its a major gap in care that represents an important public health issue in this country.

A Single Concussion May Increase Parkinson’s Risk

20 April 2018

Having a single concussion may increase a person’s risk for Parkinson’s disease, a new study suggests but the overall risk of developing the disease still remains low.

The study, which analyzed information from more than 320,000 U.S. veterans, found that those who’d experienced a mild traumatic brain injury , often called a concussion, were 56 percent more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s than those who’d never had a concussion.

Although the study participants had served in the military, their concussions were often reported to have happened during their civilian lives, said senior study author Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. “As such, we believe has important implications for the general population,” Yaffe said in a statement.

Previous research has found a link between Parkinson’s disease and moderate to severe TBIs; however, this is the first large study to show a link between milder head injuries and Parkinson’s, the researchers said.

However, it’s important to note that, even if participants experienced a concussion, their risk of Parkinson’s was still very low. Overall, 360 out of 76,297 participants with a concussion, or 0.47 percent, developed Parkinson’s; and 543 out of 72,592 participants with moderate to severe TBIs, or 0.75 percent, developed the disease.


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