Thank you to brokenbrilliant.wordpress.com for putting this AMAZING article on his blog.
This could be one of the breakthroughs the TBI world needs. It is a must read, for those who have had a head injury of any kind, including their Family & friends. Above all the medical profession should be reading this & making further investigations. Having a head injury of ANY kind is a SERIOUS issue.
NEWS FLASH: Brain injury in high-def with fiber tracking | Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind. Please check out BB’s blog it is incredibly helpful.
March 7, 2012 — Traumatic brain injury can be difficult to treat, especially if there is nerve damage. The nerve network crisscrosses its way through the brain, making it difficult to trace and even image.
But now, researchers a team of radiologists, psychiatrists and neurosurgeons the University of Pittsburgh has developed a way to image the brain in high-definition, getting resolution right down to the nerve fibers. The High Definition Fiber Tracking allows doctors to know what exactly is wrong, better tailor therapy — and give patients a better idea of what’s in store for them.
Above: High-definition fiber-tracking map shows a million brain fibers in an uninjured brain. Credit: All images Walt Schneider Laboratory
Above: Brain fibers that control right-sided limb movement were not damaged when the patient was hurt in an ATV accident.
Walter Schneider, a psychologist on the team that developed the technology, told Discovery News that tracing brain damage is like trying to follow a truck on a highway from a helicopter and losing sight of it every time it encounters an intersection. But the new images can pick out the tracks and show how much function is lost after an injury.
The images are captured using a magnetic resonance imager. By taking many scans and applying a new mathematical model, one can see the actual neural tracks. Ordinary MRI scans are taken from only 51 directions, but the new kind of scanning does it from four times that number.
“This helps answer the question, how big of a hit did you take?” Schneider said. He likened it to an X-ray machine for bone injuries.
Above: Here, the uninjured side of the patient’s brain is in green. The injured side is in yellow and shows the fiber loss that has led to the patient’s difficulty moving his left arm and hand.
One patient, Daniel Stunkard, suffered a brain injury in a vehicle accident. The new imaging was able to see that he lost 67 percent of the function in the motor pathways that controlled his arm, and 97 percent of those that controlled his hand. The arm function has, with therapy, gotten better, but the hand function is less likely to do that. Schneider said that previously, it would have been much harder to know that.
The ability to see the damage to the brain in more detail could also help people with some kinds of mental problems. Schneider said often people with post-traumatic stress disorder or those who have suffered concussions, are not sure that there is a physical problem. This new kind of imaging could change that.
High definition fiber tracking reveals loss of fibers, or connections, on the injured right side (yellow) and the intact, undamaged left side (green).
The imaging could also make some kinds of neurosurgery a lot less uncertain. Right now, neurosurgeons removing tumors, for example, have to do a certain amount of guesswork, because they can’t always see the neural tracks that will be damaged by removing the tumor.
So far there aren’t enough images to make generalizations about brains. But eventually Schneider and his team hope to get enough to be able to see what is the same — and different — between patients. One study he wants to do is of professional football players. “There’s no argument about orthopedic injuries,” he said. “You see them, they are part of the game.” But there’s a lot of controversy about concussions and the effect on players. Schneider also wants to look at the brains of autistic people and others with developmental problems.