Riders may take longer to recover from concussion if they carry specific genes, according to a recent study.

Researchers analysed information from 40 athletes diagnosed with concussion and evaluated their symptoms. Participants also gave a saliva sample to isolate certain DNA.

They found that athletes carrying a specific genotype, known as CACNA1E rs704326, had a “much greater” risk of a prolonged recovery following concussion.

“We need to perform additional research, but we think there may be a connection between the genetic proteins and the increase of calcium which leads to the deficits in recovery,” said lead author Jane McDevitt of Temple University in Philadelphia.

“Athletes who also reported having balance issues were also more likely to take a longer time to recover.”

Neurosurgical research fellow for the national institute of health research, David Davies, praised the research.

“It gives us an idea of who may be more susceptible to have a prolonged concussive state,” he told H&H. “The research is not definitive and was modest in size (40 patients), but it gives us a real target for us to invest in future research and investigation.”

Ms McDevitt and her team’s findings were presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s meeting in Orlando, Florida, on 5 March.

Long-term effects of concussion

Meanwhile, an extensive study was recently launched in the UK to look at the long-term effects of concussion on riders.

The research conducted by the International Concussion and Head Injury Foundation (ICHIRF) centres on jockeys and aims to discover whether repeated head trauma can lead to neurological problems later in life.

The ICHIRF hopes to have more than 20,000 people signing up to participate in the research in its first year. The study is set to continue for more than 10 years and preliminary results are expected in three years.

Ref: horse & Hound; 17 March 2016