A new study from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center used an advanced form of MRI to look for abnormalities in brain matter in soldiers who suffered mild traumatic brain injuries. The results could have far-reaching implications in the field of concussion detection and treatment.
Concussion testing is behind the times
The current state of concussion testing and treatment is simply not adequate. Most doctors rely on disconjugate eye movements, known as saccades, to determine whether a patient is concussed. These tests are informal and rely a great deal on individual interpretation.
Gerard Riedy, the neuroradiologist at Walter Reed who led the study, told Technology Review that, “…the clinical tools available for assessing the injury, which include a patient’s history, evaluations of cognitive skills like memory and attention, and tests of certain motor skills, require a large degree of subjective interpretation.”
For soldiers in particular, diagnosis by symptoms is difficult, as the effects of traumatic brain injury share many similarities with post-traumatic stress disorder. The difficulties in diagnosing and treating mild traumatic brain injury are what make Riedy’s research so important.
Riedy’s team scanned more than 800 soldiers who had been diagnosed with mild TBI with their advanced MRI, looking for abnormalities in white matter. White brain matter consists primarily of axons, structures that are responsible for firing brain impulses and making connections. They found that almost 52 percent of the soldiers scanned had some type of white matter abnormality or scarring.
Vital research gives hope
The team’s findings were incredible, not only because of the degree of the damage that was discovered, but also because normal MRI and CT scans were unable to detect the damage. The results provide evidence that even mild TBI can lead to long-lasting effects.
We have great hope that research like Riedy’s will help TBI sufferers everywhere. At the moment, treatment options for TBI are limited by the lack of information about how, exactly, the brain is affected. Unfortunately, until this technology becomes widespread, TBI victims are in limbo, often requiring continuing care and with no hope for a full recovery.
If you or someone you know has suffered at traumatic brain injury as a result of an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced traumatic brain injury lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law can help fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation at one of our offices in Ohio or Kentucky.