Analysis of the clinical manifestations of concussion in the cat, dog and monkey show that they are the result of intense excitation of the central nervous system at the moment of the blow to the head.
At the moment of concussion a marked electrical discharge occurs within the central nervous system. In the vinethene-novocaine anesthetized animal the cortical activity is increased in frequency following the initial discharge (afterdischarge) for 10 to ~0 seconds, then decreases until there is little spontaneous activity (extinction). Within several minutes the electroencephalogram becomes practically normal again.
At the moment of a blow on the skull a sudden increase in pressure at the site of impact occurs with pressure waves being transmitted throughout the intracranial cavity.
It is concluded that these mechanical forces produce a breakdown of the polarized cell membranes of many neurones in the central nervous system, thus discharging their axones. This intense traumatic excitation is followed by the same electroencephalographic, chemical and clinical phenomena which characterize intense stimulation of the nervous system by electrical, chemical or other agents.