Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) continue to cause devastating medical conditions for victims. While it is challenging to predict or restrict the occurrence and frequency of TBIs, new technology will better help to diagnose and treat patients. A newly developed MRI-based tool can highlight damaged fibers deep in the brain following injuries from a car accident, sports concussion or other blow to the head. For TBI victims, this technology holds the key to more realistic diagnoses, which can lead to faster recovery.
Cause and Frequency of TBIs
When the brain's functions are disrupted following a severe blow to the head or a sudden jerk, a TBI diagnosis typically follows. Falls, car crashes and sports concussions are leading causes of TBIs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1.7 million people suffer from TBIs every year. The effects of TBIs can vary and may include mood changes, memory loss, or permanent neurological damage to the brain. However, the impact of these types of injuries is further complicated by the difficulty of doctors to diagnose head trauma.
Difficult to Diagnose
Following serious head trauma that results in a TBI, victims often exhibit symptoms like severe swelling or even bleeding on or around the brain. These conditions make it difficult for normal imaging tools to identify the extent to which a brain is damaged, leaving doctors, in many cases, the inability to confidently diagnose a TBI. Without the specific knowledge about the existence and severity of TBIs, patients may suffer permanent brain damage, be open to further injury if another blow to the head occurs or even die from their invisible wounds.
New MRI-Based Tool
The Journal of Neurosurgery recently published a study about a new MRI-based tool that makes previously unseen brain damage visible for doctors. The study's research team dubbed the new technology "high-definition fiber tracking" because the tool highlights broken nerve fibers deep in the brain's white matter following a TBI. Existing CT and MRI scans cannot show this detail. The ability to track and identify which nerve connections TBIs may have slowed or stopped makes it easier for physicians to diagnose and treat patients.
Benefits to TBI Victims
The new MRI-based tool will allow for more targeted treatment and therapies after an accident or sports injury. This benefits victims of TBIs by providing the knowledge they need to recover faster and more fully. However, even with technological advancements in tools used to diagnose patients with TBIs, victims of TBIs must still face the pain and challenges of rehabilitation from head trauma or learn to adapt to living with permanent brain damage.
Contacting a New York Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
If you or your loved one recently sustained a TBI from a car accident or other head trauma, contacting a personal injury attorney with experience investigating and litigating TBIs is recommended. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options under law.