Adding to this site’s database of combative sports and brain health safety studies, important research was recently published highlighting the need to protect the brain while its recovering from a mild traumatic brain injury.
In the study, titled Distinct Myeloid Cell Subsets Promote Meningeal Remodeling and Vascular Repair After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, published in the journal of Nature Immunology, the authors documented vascular damage in patients who suffered traumatic brain injury. They noted that following injury a ‘clean up crew’ entered the area of injury and cleaned up dead cells. From there a ‘repair crew’ entered which repaired the damages blood vessels.
Of note, if a second mild traumatic brain injury occurred during ‘clean up’ phase the repair phase failed to take place. In an interview discussing these findings to MedicalExpress.com Dr. McGavern noted “Following a head injury, the meninges call in a clean-up crew, followed by a separate repair crew, to help fix damaged blood vessels…The timing of a second head injury may determine whether the meninges can be repaired. We have shown on a cellular level, that two or more head injuries within a very short amount of time can have really dire consequences for the brain lining and its ability to repair…It is possible that patients who did not fully recover following a head injury may have had problems with the first phase of the repair process“.
These findings reinforce the idea that combat sports and other athletes must take rest periods seriously following mild traumatic brain injury.
The full abstract of the study reads as follows: