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SALT LAKE CITY — Recent reports show symptoms of concussions may be seen in brain scans months after the injury happens. But can over-thinking make those symptoms worse?
According to an article on medicalnewstoday.com, tensor imaging brain scans can detect brain abnormalities months after a concussion. Doctors say even if the initial physical symptoms of a concussion go away in a day or two, the risk of re-injury can last for up to 10 days.
"The longer you give the brain time to recover, the healthier the brain will be," said University of Utah Associate Professor of Pediatrics Charles Pruitt.
Doctors have long known that concussion patients need physical rest. But Pruitt said they need more than that.
While the data isn't conclusive on whether too much stimulation can be harmful to a recovering brain, Pruitt said they give family members of these patients very specific instructions for cognitive rest.
"It's to protect the patient so that they don't engage in something that they're not ready for," he said. "We would hate to have a child taking a test when their brain really wasn't back to 100 percent."
Parents of children who suffer a concussion are told to make sure the child doesn't do anything too engaging for the brain until 24 hours after their symptoms disappear.
The longer you give the brain time to recover, the healthier the brain will be.
"After a severe head injury that may cause a concussion, or worse, we may send them back to their usual activities. Going to school, reading, taking tests, even playing video games, believe it or not, can be a very challenging activity for the brain," Pruitt said.
He said symptoms like slurred speech, headaches, vomiting or blurry vision could happen if a concussion is aggravated.
"We might see a decrease in some of these longer-term lingering effects if we allowed a longer period of recovery," he said.