URMC conducting study on concussion effects

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The University of Rochester Medical Center continues to be at the forefront of crucial medical research.

The hospital is part of a collaboration that was just awarded $10 million to study concussions in 11 to 18-year-olds. The study will test ways to predict which kids will develop persistent symptoms after a concussion. Researchers can then study how to help those children recover faster so they don’t have long-term issues. More than 1,300 11 to 18-year-olds nationwide will take part in the five-year study, including about 240 right here in Rochester.

"There are some key things happening in the brain right around this age group that may actually contribute to problems later in life and we really want to kind of understand that and try everything we can do to mitigate those problems," said URMC concussion researcher Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian.

Every year in the United States, about 1 million to 2 million children, ages 11 to 18, are diagnosed with a concussion. Thirty percent of them continue to have symptoms three months after injury. Researchers fear long-lasting concussion symptoms could have a negative impact on the developing brain.

“They’re an extension to some extent to the problems they have three or more months after such as headache, trouble concentrating, things like that. Now the link between problems at three months and those later in life are quite tenuous so we’re focused on trying to prevent those problems at three months and beyond not the one three years, four years and five years,” Bazarian said.

The study will unfold in two phases.

“In the first phase, the derivation phase, we’re kind of seeing tentatively how well are these test at predicting which adolescent has a problem at three months. The second phase is then taking those that look promising and validating, making sure, making absolutely sure in a second group that they really are the factors that contribute to long term issues with recovery,” Bazarian said.

URMC will primarily be recruiting study participants in its clinics and emergency departments. But, if you have a child that’s 11-18 years old that was diagnosed with a concussion within the past week or so, that was not seen at a URMC facility, you can contact the researchers directly at 585-275-1198.