A gene associated with dyslexia, a learning disorder, may make some athletes less susceptible to concussions, reports a new study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma. There are three variants of every gene. Athletes with one variant of the gene that did not confer dyslexia were more likely to have a history of concussion injuries. Athletes with the version of the gene that causes dyslexia were less likely to have concussion injuries.
The gene, KIAA0319, has not been looked at in concussion research before. Scientists decided to study it because of its role in cell adhesion and neuron migration. KIAA0319 could have an effect on how neurons respond to head impacts or are repaired after an injury. The genotype predicted the number of previously diagnosed concussions in the players. Everyone has the KIAA0319 gene in one of three combinations. In this gene, the genotypes are CC, CT or TT. There was a direct increase in diagnosed concussions as one went from CC to CT to TT individuals. The CC genotype has been associated with dyslexia in other studies.