Blood-brain barrier damage occurs even with mild head trauma: Brain Research
The Journal of Brain Research aims to disseminate knowledge and promote discussion through the publication of peer-reviewed, high quality research papers on all topics related to Neuroscience.
The brain is precious, and evolution has gone to great lengths to protect it from damage. The most obvious is our 7mm thick skull, but the brain is also surrounded by protective fluid (cerebrospinal – of the brain and spine) and a protective membrane called the meninges. Another protective element is the blood–brain barrier.
blood–brain barrier is a barrier between the brain’s blood vessels (capillaries) and the cells and other components that make up brain tissue. Whereas the skull, meninges and cerebrospinal fluid protect against physical damage, the blood–brain barrier provides a defense against disease-causing pathogens and toxins that may be present in our blood.
We now know the key structure of the blood–brain barrier that offers a barrier is the “endothelial tight junction”. Endothelial cells line the interior of all blood vessels. In the capillaries that form the blood–brain barrier, endothelial cells are wedged extremely close to each other, forming so-called tight junctions.
Damage to the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which protects the brain from pathogens and toxins, caused by mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The blood–brain barrier is generally very effective at preventing unwanted substances from accessing the brain, which has a downside. The vast majority of potential drug treatments do not readily cross the barrier, posing a huge impediment to treating mental and neurological disorders.
The current theory today is that it is the outer surface of the brain that is damaged in a concussion since, during an impact, the brain ricochets off of skull surfaces like Jell-O" However, we can see now that the trauma's effects are evident much deeper in the brain and that the current model of concussion is too simplistic.
It is likely that kids are experiencing these injuries during the season but aren't aware of them or are asymptomatic research using MRI and other biomarkers can help better detect a significant brain injury that may occur after what seems to be a 'mild TBI' among amateur and professional athletes.
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Journal of Brain Research