In October 2015, a grant from the NFL Foundation was given to fund a two-day meeting of the nation’s leading experts in the fields of concussion research, treatment and care. Experts gathered at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to discuss new leads in the active treatment of concussion patients and prepared to share with the nation the agreed-upon best practices. The result was a Statement of Agreement publication in which experts pooled their knowledge and experience regarding the best treatments and therapies for concussion patients.
Dr. Okonkwo, M.D., Ph.D., of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh and co-director of the symposium, told Medical Xpress, “The purpose of the UPMC symposium was to engage leading clinicians and scientists in a discussion of what we know about concussion and its treatment. We hope to build on this effort to share the best available information to improve public understanding and guide future research.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, roughly four million Americans suffer concussions every year, experiencing symptoms such as headache, confusion, nausea, blurry vision and balance problems. According to a Harris Poll from 2015, only a third of patients diagnosed with concussion reported receiving any treatment. In the same study, only 29 percent of the 2,000 U.S. adults polled believed that there can be any treatment for concussion.
Up until the time of the symposium, there had been only limited guidance regarding any expedited recovery for concussions. They were treated in the same way they had been for a decade or more: with rest. However, recent research shows that these symptoms may be treatable with targeted therapies, and concussion patients may recover more quickly under a regime of active rehabilitation exercises rather than the traditionally prescribed prolonged rest.
Doctors say that much more research is needed in the area of concussion treatment, especially on a large scale, in order to reach a consensus about the best treatment of certain sets of symptoms.
The Targeted Evaluation and Active Management Symposium Statement of Agreement is available online and was published in the December issue of Neurosurgery.