Older adults recover more slowly from concussion than younger patients, a small new study finds.
“Old age has been recognized as an independent predictor of worse outcome from concussion, but most previous studies were performed on younger adults,” said lead author Dr. David Yen-Ting Chen, a radiologist at Shuang-Ho Hospital in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
This study — published online Oct. 6 in the journal Radiology — included 13 older adults, aged 51 to 68, and 13 young adults, aged 21 to 30. The participants were assessed four weeks and 10 weeks after suffering a concussion.
A significant decline in concussion symptoms — such as problems with working memory — was seen among young patients between the first and second assessment. However, no such decrease in symptoms was seen in older patients, Chen and colleagues said in a news release from the Radiological Society of North America.
“The results suggest that [concussion] might cause a more profound and lasting effect in older patients,” study co-author Dr. Ying-Chi Tseng, of Shuang-Ho Hospital, said in the news release.
The findings could lead to the development of targeted treatments for specific age groups of concussion patients, according to the researchers.
Concussion accounts for 75 percent of all traumatic brain injuries, the researchers pointed out in the news release.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about concussion.