Seconds after a concussion researchers at The Ohio State University believe that some of the brain’s neurons rapidly swell – much more rapidly than they expected. Their new research provides insights into subcellular-level changes in the brain after concussion that could one day lead to improved treatment. The researchers examined the effects of laboratory-induced mild traumatic brain injury on rodent brain tissue and found rapid microscopic swelling along the axons – the long and slender part of the nerve cell that sends vital messages to other parts of the brain. The researchers also found that the swollen spots along the axons are reversible. They discovered a likely mechanism for the swelling–a stress activated protein named TRPV4. When TRPV4 was suppressed, swelling did not occur. While it is not yet clear whether it will work in humans, the scientists are pursuing a better understanding of reversible damage and irreversible damage that could help with development of new treatment strategies.