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Study shows brain rest is beneficial after a concussion

Though it seems common sense to give a brain rest after it has suffered a concussion, there is now data to back up the advice given by doctors. According to Reuters on Jan. 6, a new report shows that “cognitive rest” can make a difference following a concussion.

Brain rest can help a brain recover after a concussion
Flickr Creative Commons, Akira Ohgaki

Dr. William P. Meehan III of the Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention and his colleagues studied 355 kids and young adults within three weeks of their injuries between 2009 and 2011. Researchers discussed their symptoms and how often they were engaging in cognitive activities, such as reading, doing homework or playing video games.

The study showed that on average, it took 43 days for patients to fully recover from the concussions. Kids who recovered faster had lesser concussions to begin with or they were kids who limited their cognitive activity. The study has shown that kids who give their brain time to rest will have a quicker recovery speed overall, which is important for athletes who are often encouraged to return to exercise and schoolwork as soon as possible.

Meehan said, "This would suggest that while vigorous cognitive exertion is detrimental to recovery, milder levels of cognitive exertion do not seem to prolong recovery substantially."

Meehan said currently, doctors are recommending 3-5 days of minimal brain activity followed by a slow return to a normal routine. The first few days should include listening to the TV or music at a low volume and then patients can gradually add in texting, reading and homework.

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