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UR takes part in national study on concussions in pre-adolescents & teens

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The University of Rochester is participating in a national study on concussions in pre-adolescents and teens. 

Researchers want to understand why 30% of this age group experience prolonged symptoms following a concussion.

"Headache is probably the most common, but also problems with concentration and memory," said Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian, a URMC emergency medicine physician and local study leader. "Those things in and of themselves really interfere with academic productivity and being able to participate in school and activities of daily living."

The 5-year study will enroll more than 1,300 11 to 18 year olds nationwide, including 240 in the Rochester area.

As many as 1.9 million children under 18 are diagnosed with concussions every year in the U.S.

Bazarian said researchers will examine how certain biomarkers and individual factors such as genetics and stress contribute to long-lasting post-concussion symptoms in this age group.

Researchers will look for ways to predict early on who is likely to have symptoms for more than three months after a concussion and what's going wrong in the brain that contributes to the problem.

“We're thinking with the answers to those two questions, we'd be able to design some interventions that would prevent maybe a sizable chunk of youth and adolescents from having these problems that are long-lasting,” Bazarian said.

The hope is that the research will lead to treatments to mitigate the symptoms.

The study will be led by UCLA.  The National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke recently awarded the collaboration $10 million to conduct the research.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.