A small region of the brain called the anterior thalamus could hold the key for restoring memory function after a traumatic brain injury. Researchers in New Zealand and the University of Oxford in the UK have shown that targeted electrical stimulation of the anterior thalamus could help with memory restoration in patients with brain injury.
Given how complex the brain is, scientists do not fully understand the extent to which memory impairments following TBI or stroke are caused by irreversible tissue loss and are therefore not treatable or by treatable dysfunctions in the wider brain networks. The hypothesis tested in this study is that lost memory function may be in part due to network dysfunction that can be improved with targeted stimulation. The results of this study support this thesis and could ultimately revolutionize therapies for memory defects. Read More
Earlier this year the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) issued an open letter encouraging all individuals with brain injury to get a COVID vaccine. The letter cites evidence from the American Academy of Neurology that anyone with a neurologic disorder such a brain injury is particularly vulnerable to diseases like influenza and COVID:
“When one is infected with COVID-19, the virus attacks the “weakest link” it finds in the body, which is why individuals with longstanding chronic medical conditions are at the greatest risk for infection, complications and even death,” explained BIAA National Medical Director Brent E. Masel, M.D. “Studies have shown that traumatic brain injury triggers an inflammatory process in the brain that causes an individual to experience chronic issues. This process places those individuals at far greater risk of developing complications from COVID-19, which itself is well known to cause chronic neuroinflammatory issues.”
Most personal injury lawyers have represented clients suffering from the chronic consequences of concussion and musculoskeletal injuries following a rear end collision that caused minimal damage to the vehicles involved. This blog has reported on countless scientific studies showing that in some patients concussions can have long-term, chronic consequences. The standard defense employed by insurers in minimal damage rear end collisions (which they call “MIST” cases) is to argue that any injury is improbable in these accidents because the forces involved are similar to the forces involved in many activities of daily living (ADLs) where injuries rarely occur (like sitting down in a chair or sneezing.
The insurers and their defense counsel typically have an “accident reconstruction” expert they routinely use (often retired police officers) who calculate the speed change in the crash (the “delta V”) and then compare it to the delta V involved in everyday activities. (The delta V calculations by these so-called experts is often inaccurate, but that is a different issue.) Experience shows that this testimony can be very compelling to a jury, faced with judging the credibility of an injury victim whose injury is not immediately apparent. Read More
So called “mild” traumatic brain injury (“mTBI”) can have long-term, disabling consequences (in both civilian and military populations);
that this injury is heterogeneous in both presentation and clinical outcome (in other words, every injury is different); and
that interventions targeted to the individual presentation of the injury (whether it is predominantly vestibular, cognitive, oculomotor, headache, sleep or mood related, or some combination) can reduce symptoms in otherwise intractable patients.
The message is that ignoring the symptoms and hoping that they will ultimately disappear – the approach often taken in the past – is not wise for either the individual or for society as a whole. Read More
A research report from the University of Texas Medical School, just published in Frontiers in Neurology, finds a correlation between Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) findings and cognitive assessments in patients with chronic complaints after concussion, providing evidence that DTI imaging may be a reliable biomarker predicting the severity of cognitive decline following concussion. (DTI is an MRI technique that detects microstructural changes in white matter such as the changes that can occur as a result of “diffuse axonal injury” in brain injuries including concussion.) Read More
In the first systematic review on this topic, researchers at the University of Texas report on growing consistent evidence that traumatic brain injury (TBI) changes the gut microbiome. Evaluating these changes, they conclude, will be a fertile ground for new therapeutic interventions. Read More
In a peer-reviewed article published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2020;78(2):757-775. doi: 10.3233/JAD-200662, Canadian researcher found that a history of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) almost doubled the risk of being diagnosed with dementia and that mTBI was the strongest environmental risk factor for dementia, comparable to health risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Read More
Adding to a growing volume of literature on this topic, Montreal researchers published a study in January, 2021 demonstrating that a single mild traumatic brain injury involving late adulthood patients (ages 50-70) leads to subtle, long-term cognitive consequences.