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Study claims concussions can be pinpointed in brain by use of MRI


Helio reported on a study in Radiology magazine that used an MRI to pinpoint a region of brain injury in patients with traumatic brain injuries.

The press release from the Radiological Society of North America said the discovery of regional white matter damage associated with concussions along with related information from an MRI can help to improve treatments for head injury patients.

Lea Alhilali, MD, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues retrospectively reviewed imaging data for 30 patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and vestibular symptoms and 25 patients with ocular convergence insufficiency, a condition that occurs when the eyes do not turn inward properly when focused on a nearby object. As controls, they included 39 patients with mTBI without vestibular symptoms and 17 patients with normal ocular convergence.

The researchers acquired imaging data with an MRI technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which produces a fractional anisotropy (FA) value that can be used to determine damage to the brain’s signal-transmitting white matter, according to the press release.

"FA provides a measure of how intact the white matter is," Alhilali stated in the release. "The lower the FA value, the more injured the white matter is."

The study said researchers found decreased FA values in affected patients who had suffered concussions.

"Vestibular therapy is often very effective," she stated. "Using DTI findings, we can treat patients earlier and get them back to a baseline state much sooner."

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor



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