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Lady GaGa take heed! Week of total rest helps recovery from concussion – and that includes no talking on the telephone
Total bed rest eased symptoms of headaches, mental fogginess and fatigue
14:36 GMT, 11 June 2012
Lady GaGa amazed her fans by finishing her concert in New Zealand yesterday despite suffering a concussion mid way through the show. But new research suggests she would have done better to head straight to bed.
A U.S study found that sufferers showed few symptoms and showed improved mental performance if they avoided mental and physical activity for seven days following the head blow.
Lady GaGa was pictured out and about in Brisbane, Australia, (left) just a day after suffering a concussion during a show in New Zealand (right)
The week of total rest – which included no talking on the telephone or watching TV – showed benefits even if it was taken months after the injury, according to the research from the Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey.
Lead author, Rosemarie Moser, said: 'That's really important because very often we see patients with post-concussion syndrome months after (their injury).'
Concussion, or minor traumatic brain injury, is the sudden but short-lived loss of mental function that occurs after a blow or other injury to the head. Around one in 2,000 people need hospital treatment after suffering an episode each year.
Post-concussion syndrome involves headaches, mental fogginess, fatigue and difficulty concentrating or sleeping, among other symptoms.
The typical treatment is rest, however Ms Moser said it wasn't prescribed in a systematic or comprehensive manner by doctors.
In the latest study on 49 high school and college-age patients, Ms Moser aimed to test the results of intensive rest following a mild brain injury.
She asked each patient to rest for a full week – this meant no school or work, no exercise, talking on the phone, socialising or going on the computer.
Fourteen of the patients started the rest within a week of their injuries. Another 22 patients began resting within a month of the concussion, and 13 patients began the week of rest between one and seven months after the concussion.
Total rest: A week of complete rest was found to ease symptoms following a concussion
At the beginning of the study, all of the patients had concussion-related symptoms, such as headaches and trouble concentrating – but all saw improvement after the week of rest.
Athletes who began the rest within a week of their concussion saw their symptoms fall from a score of 22 on a 132-point scale, to seven. Those who began their rest more than a month afterwards saw symptoms drop from 28 to 8.
'All of those symptoms improved dramatically. Qualitatively, you feel better,' Moser said.
Moser's group also had participants take mental tests – measuring memory, processing speed and reaction time – before and after they rested, and found that patients did better on all the mental exams after the rest.
However, the researchers did not compare the participants' improvement to other people with concussions who got no special rest period, or who got some rest but less than the total rest that they prescribed. Further research will be needed for this.