Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Brain & Nervous System Health Center

Font Size

Single Concussion May Lead to Lasting Brain Damage

Small study found measurable MRI changes in single-concussion patients

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Just one concussion can cause long-term structural damage to the brain, according to a new study.

Researchers used 3-D MRI to examine the volume of gray and white brain matter in 19 concussion patients one year after their injury, and in 12 people who had not suffered a concussion. The scans revealed measurable losses of gray and white matter (brain atrophy) in the concussion patients, according to the study, which was published online March 12 in the journal Radiology.

The finding is the first of its kind and shows that brain atrophy occurs not only in people who have suffered severe brain injuries, but also in those who have had just one concussion, said Dr. Yvonne Lui, neuroradiology section chief and assistant professor of radiology at the NYU Langone School of Medicine, in New York City.

"This study confirms what we have long suspected," Lui said in a journal news release. "After [concussion], there is true structural injury to the brain, even though we don't see much on routine clinical imaging."

Lui said this means that changes in brain structure may be the cause of long-term symptoms in patients who have suffered a concussion.

"It is important for patients who have had a concussion to be evaluated by a physician," Lui said. "If patients continue to have symptoms after concussion, they should follow up with their physician before engaging in high-risk activities such as contact sports."

Following a concussion, some people briefly lose consciousness. Other symptoms include headache, dizziness, memory loss, attention problems, depression and anxiety. Some of these symptoms may last for months or even years.

Previous research has shown that 10 percent to 20 percent of concussion patients continue to experience symptoms more than a year after their head injury.

Although the study tied having a single concussion to higher risk of long-term brain injury, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
senior woman with lost expression
Know the early warning signs.
woman in art gallery
Tips to stay smart, sharp, and focused.
medical marijuana plant
What is it used for?
senior man
boy hits soccer ball with head
red and white swirl
marijuana plant
brain illustration stroke
nerve damage
Alzheimers Overview
Graphic of number filled head and dna double helix