Over the past few years, researchers and safety experts have begun focusing their efforts on understanding traumatic brain injuries. Thousands of people in the U.S. suffer TBIs each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the effects of these injuries can be devastating. In fact, researchers are only now beginning to understand the length of time necessary for a person to recover from even a mild TBI.
Recently, researchers at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine published the results of a study in the journal Neurology in which they used a special MRI scan, known as diffusion tensor imaging, to learn more about the brain function of those who had suffered traumatic brain injuries. Specifically, the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, sought to evaluate the presence of brain abnormalities in the months following brain injuries. Researchers discovered that the brains of TBI victims continued to show signs of injury for months, even after the most serious symptoms ceased.
The study is significant because it suggests that traumatic brain injuries – even injuries that appear initially to be mild in nature – may have two different layers of recovery. In most cases, the initial symptoms of brain injury, which can include problems with cognition and memory, as well as behavioral changes, improve first. The physiological damage to the brain, however, takes much longer to heal. In this study, participants showed significant improvement in primary symptoms after four months. Nevertheless, researchers still identified evidence of physiological damage in their MRI scans.
The authors of the study caution that their findings may be limited. In this case, the group of study participants was small and many of them had suffered very similar injuries. With further refinement of MRI scanning techniques and a larger, more varied body of test participants, researchers could reach more definitive conclusions.
Nevertheless, studies such as this one are important because they improve doctors’ understanding of traumatic brain injuries. The more that doctors know about how the body heals after this sort of injury, the better able they are to develop new, more effective treatments.
If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of another person, consider contacting a personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can speak to you about your rights and can help you get the compensation for your injuries you deserve. For more information, contact an attorney today.