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Editorial
January 2017

Can Sustained Glia-Mediated Brain Inflammation After Repeated Concussive Brain Injury Be Detected In Vivo?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus
JAMA Neurol. 2017;74(1):23-25. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.4539

Mounting evidence indicates that concussions represent a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). As such, there is significant interest in understanding how concussions increase the risk for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative complications acutely and long-term. High-impact collisions that result in concussive brain trauma are common in contact sports at the collegiate and professional levels. Thus, there are growing concerns regarding the long-term health of collegiate and professional football players who have experienced multiple concussive injuries over their careers. For instance, repeated brain injury is associated with psychiatric manifestations, including depression, suicide, aggressive behaviors, and anxiety, years after the initial injury.1 Furthermore, postmortem analyses of brains from individuals with a history of concussive brain injuries detected increased evidence of neurodegenerative pathologies including chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer disease.2,3 These data are interpreted to indicate that the incidence of neurodegenerative disease is higher in individuals with a history of brain trauma, particularly those with repeated brain injuries. Not surprisingly, there is evidence in clinical and experimental studies of TBI that inflammation within the brain persists long after initial brain trauma.4,5 Many researchers have hypothesized that chronic inflammation significantly contributes to the manifestation of depression, cognitive decline, and cellular and structural damage within the brain.6 Therefore, it is critical that strategies for early detection and treatment of TBI-associated inflammation are developed.

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