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New clinical trial evaluates exercise during concussion recovery

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Concussion management should involve more than “go home and rest”, according to researchers at the University at Buffalo.

Physicians at the university´s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences have developed a new exercise treatment for acute concussion and launched a randomized, controlled clinical trial involving 13- to 17-year-old adolescents who experience a concussion, whether or not it resulted from participating in sport.

Participants will be examined by UB physicians within days of a suspected concussion.

The study aims to evaluate for the first time a treatment protocol for concussion. According to the University at Buffalo, if it proves successful the results may change the way concussions are treated.

Principal investigator Dr. John Leddy is medical director of the UB Concussion Management Clinic, a physician with UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, and clinical professor in the Department of Orthopaedics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

“Until recently, the standard of care in concussion has been to tell individuals who have suffered concussions to go home and rest until the symptoms go away,” Leddy said. “Our research has demonstrated that some activity is actually necessary to promote recovery.”

However, it´s still not known how much activity is best.

“We know that activity helps to speed recovery, but we also know too much activity prevents it,” explained Barry Willer, PhD, director of research for the UB Concussion Management Clinic and professor in the Department of Psychiatry, who coordinated the study design. “A major goal of our research is to determine how much activity, and what activity, is best.”