How Hits on the Field Translate to Brain Damage Scans Offer Inside Look at Cumulative Effects of Injuries

By Alexander, Rachel | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), March 30, 2018 | Go to article overview

How Hits on the Field Translate to Brain Damage Scans Offer Inside Look at Cumulative Effects of Injuries


Alexander, Rachel, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


On a scan, it looks like there's a hole in Mark Rypien's brain.

It's not actually there - the gray spot in a sea of rainbow indicates an area of low blood flow. It's often found in people with alcohol abuse problems or sleep apnea, but in Rypien's case, it's likely a sign of head trauma, said his neurologist and psychiatrist, Daniel Amen.

Rypien has had scans at one of Amen's clinics in Reston, Virginia, and at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The Amen scans, done in October, show lower function in his cerebellum, the area of the brain that controls movement, and in his temporal lobes, which regulate speech and memory.

The SPECT scans Amen uses to diagnose and treat everything from traumatic brain injuries to mental illnesses are controversial in his field, with other leading psychiatrists and neurologists saying those scans can't treat the range of conditions he claims to be able to improve.

But there's no doubt Amen is familiar with the brain of football players: He's studied hundreds of them and published a paper in 2011 documenting how the brains of 97 retired players differed from a healthy comparison group. Overall, the players had lower blood flow to significant portions of their brains, and scored in the bottom 50 percent on nearly every measure of cognitive function.

Or, in plain English: "It's not a normal brain," Rypien said.

How do hits on the field translate into brain damage?

Most explanations begin by comparing the human brain to Jell-O.

Your brain floats inside your head, protected by three membranes and the skull. If your head gets hit, or rapidly changes direction, the movement can cause your brain to hit your skull, like Jell-O bouncing against the side of a bowl.

But what actually happens at the moment of impact?

Brains relay information between neurons using a combination of chemical and electrical signals. Neurons connect through their axons, long, spindle-like structures that transmit signals across the brain.

Blows to the head can cause the protective sheath around axons to stretch and tear, disrupting signal transmission and reducing blood flow. The effects depend on the parts of the brain that are impacted.

"No two concussions are ever alike because the blows are different," said Heidi Peterson, a licensed athletic trainer at the MultiCare Rockwood Sports Medicine Center who created a Spokane-area sports concussion committee last year. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

How Hits on the Field Translate to Brain Damage Scans Offer Inside Look at Cumulative Effects of Injuries
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.