Researchers searching for a better understanding of concussions


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With an increasing number of people - from NFL players to soldiers - suffering  concussions, researchers are increasing their efforts to understand just what goes on when a brain sloshes within a skull.

For years, researchers have been studying the brains of deceased football players who suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy - a degenerative disease marked by "tangles" in the brain.

But the goal is to peer inside the body while the patient is still alive, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania to the University of California to the US military and beyond have stepped up their efforts. Some of the research focuses on exploring what happens to rat brain cells when they are stretched and identifying protein markers in human blood.

"This is truly an under-addressed area of medicine, one of the last frontiers of medicine that we have not done a good job on as a medical community," Col. Dallas C. Hack, director of the Combat Casualty Care Research Program, told The Inquirer. "We're going to change medicine with the work we're doing."

"Concussion is not like an ACL injury. Everybody's knee is essentially the same. We know what it does, we know what it should do," allowing for a standard treatment protocol, Jeffrey S. Kutcher, chair of the American Academy of Neurology's Sports Neurology Section, added. "Brains are way too diverse for that."

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