Is there a Link Between Concussions in Adolescence and Multiple Sclerosis?

The human brain is a fascinating organ capable of so many things. While we’ve barely scratched the surface of its immense complexities through scientific study thus far, we’ve begun to learn just how important protecting the human brain is, largely due to what can happen if you don’t. Concussions are an extremely serious injury, largely because even the most minor one can lead to potentially devastating consequences and further serious conditions later in life.

A recent study sought to discover if there is a link between concussions sustained during childhood and adolescence, while the brain is still developing but the human body is still capable of remarkable recovery, and the development of multiple sclerosis. Otherwise known as MS, multiple sclerosis is a condition where the insulating cover on nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord become damaged, resulting in disrupted communication between the brain and various parts of the body. Those who suffer from the disease experience symptoms like blindness in one eye, double-vision, and loss of coordination or muscle strength.

The study surveyed the Swedish Patient Register, a large database of hospital diagnoses to find all individuals born after 1964 and who had been diagnosed with MS prior to the year 2012. Each of these individuals was matched with 10 similar people (based on age, sex, and where they live) who had not been diagnosed with MS. Researchers then studied these groups to see if they could find an association between MS and concussions sustained during youth years.

The Results

The results were fairly clear: concussions sustained during adolescent increased the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. However, somewhat surprisingly, the study did not find a link between MS and concussions sustained during childhood years. This means while young children were able to fully recover from concussions without generally having to worry about an MS condition, teens were at a much greater risk.

This is particularly important because adolescent years are some of the most vulnerable in a young individual’s life. Lots of athletes become involved in competitive sports that leave them exposed to serious head trauma, such as football and soccer. Furthermore, teens start receiving their driver’s licenses, and young people are involved in more car accidents than any other demographic by far. Concussions are an extremely common injury sustained in car accidents.

If your child or teen has suffered a concussion due to an accident caused by someone else, contact a San Francisco personal injury attorney from the Scarlett Law Group by dialing (415) 688-2176!

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