A bump on the head is never pleasant, whether it’s caused by an accident or picked up playing sport. As well as being painful, even mild head injuries can cause concussion – a brief loss of mental function that can lead to someone seeing stars, suffering memory loss or even losing consciousness. Concussion usually passes quickly but it can have long term effects, including headaches and dizziness that can last for months. Unfortunately, the effects of concussion don’t show up on conventional brain scans. Scientists are now developing a more advanced scanning technique called magnetoencephalography (MEG) – being tested here on a volunteer – that measures activity and communication within the brain. People with concussion have distinctive changes in MEG patterns, which also reflect the severity of the condition. This technique could help to diagnose and monitor people with concussion to make sure they get the right treatment and care. Written by Kat Arney Image by Vakorin et al. Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada Image copyright held by the photographer Research published in PLOS Computational Biology, December 2016 You can also follow BPoD on Twitter and Facebook

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