concussion and c++
December 12, 2005 12:44 PM   Subscribe

If I've suffered a mild concussion, will excessive use of reasoning and logic harm the regenerative process going on in my brain?

I was rushing to the computer lab to continue massaging my pile of spaghetti code and I flipped over the handle bars of my bike. I did not lose conciousness, but I did experience a ringing in my ears and that distorted sense of reality that goes along with banging your head. Now, about 30 minutes after the fact, I have a very mild, almost imperceptible, headache.

My question: will programming for 5 hours hurt my brain?
posted by kuatto to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I predict a torrent of responses telling you to go see a doctor. Head injuries aren't something you want to mess around with, and I've always read and heard that after a head injury, if you have any doubts about your condition at all, or lingering effects, you should go see a doctor.
posted by agropyron at 12:46 PM on December 12, 2005


I have the list of symptoms to be aware of after a head injury.
posted by kuatto at 12:49 PM on December 12, 2005


Reasoning and logic do not make a difference in how much blood flows to the brain, as opposed to, say, sexual fantasizing or breathing. It may make a difference in *where* the blood flows in your brain, but that is not relevant here. Whether you are programming or thinking about naked persons of your preferred gender(s), get your brain to a doctor first (what agropyron said).
posted by matildaben at 12:51 PM on December 12, 2005


Exercising your brain is generally prescribed for improving mental functions as well as staving off the decline of acumen from degenerative disorders.

In this case, I recommend starting by using your brain and going to see a doctor. (The fact that you are not already at one may indicate a concussion.)
posted by justkevin at 12:52 PM on December 12, 2005


+1 for the doctor torrent.

At the very least, go talk to the health services people on campus. Get checked out by somebody.
posted by Netzapper at 12:52 PM on December 12, 2005


my minimal knowledge suggests it should help. don't you want to work the pathways so the right things get connected up?

on the other hand, when i had serious concussion i was told to take the day off (once my sight had returned, and they'd stopped me bleeding everywhere, etc etc :o).
posted by andrew cooke at 12:54 PM on December 12, 2005


ps i didn't have a headache.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:59 PM on December 12, 2005


Sorry we're not answering your actual question better, kuatto, but it's a fact that AskMe is not a good place for medical advice. I suspect that the people who are truly qualified to answer your question (doctors) would also tell you to go see a doctor.

(Although hopefully a real doctor will also chime in on the basic question.)
posted by agropyron at 1:02 PM on December 12, 2005


You're thinking about this too much.

Apparently reasoning and logic haven't been used in this case in order to tell you to seek help from professionals rather than anonymous internet people.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:09 PM on December 12, 2005


Take this very seriously. See a doctor. Is the reason you're putting off going to a doctor because it's the last minute rush to get school work done for the semester?

At the very, very least stay around other people who can help you, should you collapse. WHICH YOU MIGHT. Don't go off alone AT ALL.
posted by voidcontext at 1:11 PM on December 12, 2005


do not fall asleep until you've seen the doctor.
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:20 PM on December 12, 2005


In high school, I once got the crap beat of me. I was a pacifist (still am, but not as strong), and refused to fight back. I stood there and let the other guy beat me into unconsciousness. At one point, he even pounded my head into the pavement. (My crime? He didn't like my girlfriend.) The doctor told me I had a concussion.

About five years ago, I was in a car wreck: a semi-truck sideswiped me, sending me into a guardrail at 55mph. I survived without a scratch, but I had a ringing headache. This time, I didn't see a doctor. I'm sure I had a similar concussion though. Now, I wish I had seen a doctor. I'm not the suing type, but it would have been invaluable to know if I actually suffered any sort of brain damage.

My wife complains that my memory is abnormally poor. I have difficulty remembering simple words. Sometimes it's painful to listen to myself talk. Why do I have these problems? I cannot say for sure, but I strongly suspect the two events I cited above.

Go see a doctor. You'll only lose a few bucks if nothing's wrong, but you may save yourself from a lifetime of trouble if something is wrong.
posted by jdroth at 1:25 PM on December 12, 2005


GO TO AN ER OR YOUR STUDENT HEALTH SERVICE NOW.
posted by gramcracker at 1:47 PM on December 12, 2005


Just out of curiosity, what is it that you think a doctor might do? Swap his brain out?
posted by delmoi at 2:01 PM on December 12, 2005


Well, when my college roommate had a bike accident, and I took him to the hospital, they seemed to think his brain was hemorrhaging, and they wanted to keep him under observation, so that they could cut open his skull to save his life if it kept going.
posted by agropyron at 2:22 PM on December 12, 2005 [1 favorite]


I'm assuming you've already headed to the doctor, but I'll mention that I was bonked in the head in the course of being robbed many years ago. I was basically okay--a horrific, swollen, bloody mess, but no permanent damage--but the doctor insisted that if I didn't have anyone to look after me, they would insist on keeping me in the hospital overnight for observation. Specifically, they were concerned that if I were to start throwing up or going into seizures or something it could be a sign of a more serious problem, which could turn up hours after the original blow. And if I were alone and that happened, I wouldn't be able to get myself to the hospital in time.

Point being, if you *still* haven't been to the doctor after a few hours, even if you feel basically okay...go to the doctor a.s.a.p.
posted by gimonca at 2:26 PM on December 12, 2005


I've had two pretty severe concussions and both times I didn't really have a headache. The second one caused a six month bout of post-concussion syndrome which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. And - I'm not kidding - weird logic sets in after the concussion sometimes. I was spouting out random facts and convincing people left and right of some crack-pot theory of which I was utterly convinced, and this bit of 'logic hurting future brain regrowth' does remind me of that. Go to the doctor, see if you've had a concussion - don't drive yourself, don't be alone until then, and DON'T go to sleep until you've been checked out. Haven't you people seen ER? You don't have to be gushing blood to have an internal issue. You won't be doing much coding if you're more injured than you thought - take a little break and get checked out.
posted by fionab at 3:49 PM on December 12, 2005


Basically, I am wondering about the shearing action on the neurons. As the neurons try to rebuild themselves, will thinking excessively hard cause damage?

e.g would asking a heavyweight boxer to do intensive mental exercises after a bout cause him brain damage?
posted by kuatto at 4:08 PM on December 12, 2005


p.s The headache is gone now.
posted by kuatto at 4:09 PM on December 12, 2005


[Insert the usual disclaimers here.] The doctor's not going to do a damned thing. Without loss of consciousness, without any external signs of injury and with normal mental function at the time of the exam, there's no indication for a CT scan.

The only thing to worry about would be an epidural hematoma, which typically produces unconsciousness 6-12 hours after the injury. So, you might plan to have someone around to observe you in the period of 4-24 hours after your accident.
posted by neuron at 4:21 PM on December 12, 2005


I agree with neuron and delmoi, the doctor likely isn't going to do anything for this type of injury except tell you to come back if it gets worse. Sitting in the ER for 4 or 5 hours is likely to cause more brain damage than programming IMHO. Maybe tell the people you're with so if you do pass out they know why.
posted by fshgrl at 5:54 PM on December 12, 2005


As a general rule of thumb, the best way to stimulate neurogenesis is by tackling whole new areas of knowledge. Get to know physics, philosophy, psychiatry, etc. to the point where you can discuss them intelligently. Keep consuming new bodies of knowledge - you don't need to pursue them to the point of expertise, though.

Wikipedia is good for your brain.
posted by Ryvar at 5:58 PM on December 12, 2005


will programming for 5 hours (after a mild concussion) hurt my brain

Not as far as I know.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:47 PM on December 12, 2005


vote::doctor_visit++;
posted by mystyk at 7:28 PM on December 12, 2005


I'm still not dead

But seriously, what about the shearing action on the neurons? As the dendrites rebuild themselves, should I put my brain on ice? Does deep meditation speed neurogenesis, or as Ryvar suggests, does ehxhaustive mental excercise help this?

Here's another related question, is it possible to put your neurons in a state of flux and, through the use of intensive mental excercises, radically retrain yourself?
posted by kuatto at 9:52 PM on December 12, 2005



As a general rule of thumb, the best way to stimulate neurogenesis is by tackling whole new areas of knowledge. Get to know physics, philosophy, psychiatry, etc. to the point where you can discuss them intelligently. Keep consuming new bodies of knowledge - you don't need to pursue them to the point of expertise, though.

Wikipedia is good for your brain.



I'd like to see from where that rule of thumb comes from: it seems kinda shaky to me. While thinking and/or memorizing really hard may be good for your mind, their relative effect on the brain itself may be minor; the improvements to your thinking process may require changes to the microorganization of your brain, but not necessarily large ones. I'd conjecture, though I'm not a neurobiologist and have not done even the slightest shred of research to back this up, that processes involving excercising the sensory and motor portions of your brain, say ear tuning, juggling or playing tetris, may have a more discernable effect on brain microorganization than all the cramthinking you can do. Again, this is not to say your mind won't get better by thinking more- just that mind and brain are not the same thing.
posted by monocyte at 11:04 PM on December 12, 2005


Don't bother going to on-campus health services. They'll just test you for mono and send you on your way. :P
posted by antifuse at 3:09 AM on December 13, 2005


kuatto: Check the user information for the person who said "Not as far as I know" to your question about whether "programming for 5 hours (after a mild concussion) [will] hurt [your] brain.

Then see a doctor.
posted by terrapin at 10:29 AM on December 13, 2005


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