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Revolutionizing Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosis

Author: Cohen & Feeley

Published: 2012-04-21


MRI based scan known as High Definition Fiber Tracking could reveal broken neural connections deep inside the brain.

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New Technology Could Revolutionize Brain Injury Diagnosis - Promising new brain imaging technology could bring major advancements in doctors ability to diagnose and treat concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from "mild," i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to "severe," i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.

Researchers are testing out a promising new tool that could revolutionize the way traumatic brain injuries are diagnosed. Much like X-rays help doctors detect broken bones, a powerful new MRI-based scan known as High Definition Fiber Tracking could reveal broken neural connections deep inside the brain, enabling doctors to provide better diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.

Previously, damage to the brain's internal connections was invisible and doctors were forced to rely on outwardly observable symptoms like swelling, bleeding or behavioral changes to determine the extent of the damage caused by a TBI. As a result, the severity of a brain injury often could not be determined until months or even years later - too late, in many cases, to prevent further damage or maximize a patient's chances of recovery.

Even Mild Brain Injury Can Have Lasting Effects

Concussions and other TBIs affect an estimated 1.7 million people in the U.S. each year. A TBI occurs when a blow to the head disrupts the normal functioning of the brain, with consequences that range from mild concussion to severe disability or even death. Recent research suggests that the effects of repeated concussions may be cumulative, and that even relatively minor TBIs can have long-term cognitive and neurological consequences.

While healing from a concussion or other TBI, the brain is much more vulnerable to further injury. A patient who experiences even a mild second head injury before a concussion has fully healed is at risk of developing second-impact syndrome, a very serious condition that causes rapid swelling of the brain. Second-impact syndrome, which is a particular concern among athletes, can result in severe permanent neurological harm and in many cases is fatal.

Because the symptoms of a concussion or other TBI may disappear before the injury has fully healed, and because many concussions go entirely undetected, improvements in diagnostic methods will help doctors and patients minimize the risks of further injury, as well as focusing their rehabilitative efforts to provide TBI patients with the best chances for recovery.

Financial Compensation for TBI Patients

People who have experienced a TBI may be able to obtain financial compensation for their injuries, medical bills and rehabilitative costs. For more information about seeking legal compensation for a brain injury, contact a personal injury lawyer with a background representing clients in TBI cases. Article provided by Cohen & Feeley - Visit us at

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