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Abstract #2384

Effects of cumulative non-concussive head impact exposure associated with youth football on MRI measures of gray matter structure

Lynn Della Grotta1, Jillian E Urban2, Megan Johnston2, Elizabeth M Davenport3, Mark A Espeland4, Youngkoo Jung5, Daryl A Rosenbaum6, Alex K Powers7, Joel D Stitzel2, Joseph A Maldjian3, and Christopher T Whitlow8

1Radiology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston Salem, NC, United States, 2Biomedical Engineering, Wake Forest School of Medicine, 3Radiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 4Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, 5Radiology & Biomedical Engineering, Wake Forest School of Medicine, 6Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, 7Neurosurgery, Wake Forest School of Medicine, 8Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, Wake Forest School of Medicine

Millions of children play American football, however, youth players are largely absent from studies addressing the public health questions about safety and concussion. Furthermore, many studies investigating effects of sports-related head impact exposure on brain structure have focused on white matter, with few evaluating the effects on gray matter (GM) structure. In this study, we combined measures of head impact biomechanics and brain MRI to investigate the effects of repetitive non-concussive exposure on gray matter volume and microstructural integrity. We demonstrate statistically significant relationships between exposure metrics and MRI measures of GM diffusion characteristics after one season of youth football.

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