The differences in metabolite levels in the brain were seen in exams taken at the start of the season, after a concussion, and again at the end of the season.
"The players that had suffered a concussion during the season had a large reduction in the level of a metabolite called glutamine," said Robert Bartha, PhD, a professor at Western University's Robarts Research Institute, in a statement. "Players that didn't have a concussion had a similar but smaller reduction of ... glutamine, when we looked at their baseline measures compared to their after-season measures."
Glutamine is associated with a number of different processes in the brain and is adversely affected by lower glucose metabolism. The metabolite changes continued even after the athletes' clinical concussion scores returned to normal and they returned to action.
Bartha and colleagues suggested that their approach may be more sensitive to brain injury and could help assess recovery from a concussion.
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