Scientists are currently testing a new diagnostic tool that could make traumatic brain injury imaging more consistent.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a major cause of death and permanent disability in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 30 percent of injury deaths are caused by some form of brain injury.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Traumatic Brain Injury?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is currently the best way to detect TBI damage. Unfortunately, MRI machines are produced by different manufacturers and used in different environments, so the results they generate are rarely consistent.
To treat TBIs effectively, physicians need to know their scans are accurate. Now, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are experimenting with ways to stabilize one key element.
Neural fibers in the brain are bundled like wires, which can break if the brain sustains a shock. Doctors can use water diffusion to locate breaks and map affected areas, but they must be able to trust their MRI scans.
Water diffusion can be an important tool for understanding TBIs, but the process is extremely sensitive to temperature. MRI scanners working at even slightly different temperatures will give off different results.
Researchers developed a series of polymer solutions at carefully prepared concentrations to provide a “ground truth” value for diffusion. To minimize temperature discrepancies, the solutions are all cooled to 0 degrees Celsius before use.
The innovation could help doctors get more precise, calibrated results when mapping brain injuries. Scientists believe that the new technology is adaptable to other kinds of brain trauma, including cancer, stroke and neurodegenerative diseases.
Brain Injury Attorney in Colorado
Metier Law Firm has been backing TBI awareness and support for more than 20 years. Working with organizations like Colorado’s Brain Injury Alliance, our firm strives to help victims find resources, support and employment opportunities after their recovery.
There is no proven method of preventing or reversing damage after a traumatic brain injury. For more information about resources for brain injury victims, follow the attorneys of Metier Law Firm on Facebook and Google Plus.
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