Researchers document connection between concussions and depression in teens

     (Elana Gordon/NewsWorks Photo, file)

    (Elana Gordon/NewsWorks Photo, file)

    Concussions can have a long-term impact on cognition and memory, especially in people who have had several of them.  New research points to another potential symptom: depression.

    Teens with a history of concussions are more than three times as likely to suffer from depression as teens who have never had one, according to new research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

    It’s a side-effect that neuropsychologist Rosemarie Scolaro Moser has observed in her work at the Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey.

    She says more research is documenting the link between concussion and depression, but why one seems to lead to the other is not quite understood.

    “What we believe is that with a concussion you alter your brain chemistry in some way, and that will result in a change that your way your body functions, your brain functions, your emotions functions,” she said.

    Scolaro Moser says often, symptoms of depression go away once the concussion resolves. She adds that some adolescents who have had multiple concussions have to change their lifestyle, or stop playing sports, and depression could be related to that.

    “You no longer are able to participate in your sport, or all of the social activities at the same level, which is very important to your identity as an adolescent, then just those behavioral changes can bring on depression,” she said.

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