July .24 .2015

White Brain Matter, Depression and Concussions

Have you had a concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury? Do you suffer from symptoms of irritability, depression, and anxiety? A recent study suggests damaged white brain matter, the brain’s signal cables, may be responsible.

On our blog, we often discuss the long-term damage left by concussions including depression. Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of concentration
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Anger or irritability
  • Reckless behaviour

Why do only some concussion sufferers report these symptoms?

According to Medical Daily, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have the answer. Scientists detected white brain matter abnormalities in people suffering from depression or anxiety as a result of their concussion.

What is white brain matter?

White brain matter is the subway of the brain – connecting different regions of grey matter in the cerebrum to one another. Unlike gray matter, which peaks in development in a person’s twenties, the white matter continues to develop, and peaks in middle age. Historically, scientists incorrectly regarded the brain’s white matter as passive.

This study is the first time the brain’s white matter has been linked to anxiety caused by brain trauma, which may indicate a need to treat these patients differently than conventional anxiety sufferers.

Let’s hope these findings advance our understanding of what happens after a traumatic brain injury and enhance the treatment of those who suffer long-term psychological side effects as a result of a concussion.

For more information

  • People Who Suffer Depression And Anxiety After A Traumatic Brain Injury May Have Damaged White Matter, Medical Daily
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), Slater Vecchio

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Michael Slater QC

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