The results, which were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), suggest that, in some patients, the brain may change to compensate for the damage caused by the injury.
"This finding could lead to strategies for preventing and repairing the damage that accompanies traumatic brain injury," said Michael Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., who led the study and is associate director of the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at Einstein and medical director of MRI services at Montefiore, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein.
Each year, 1.7 million people in the U.S., sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBI), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Concussions and other mild TBIs (or mTBIs) account for at least 75 percent of these injuries. Following a concussion, some patients experience a brief loss of consciousness. Other symptoms include headache, dizziness, memory loss, attention deficit, depression and anxiety. Some of these conditions may persist for months or even years in as many as 30 percent of patients.
The Einstein study involved 17 patients brought to the emergency department at Montefiore and Jacobi Medical Centers and diagnosed with mTBI. Within two weeks of their injuries, the patients underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which "sees" the movement of water molecules within and along axons, the nerve fibers that constitute the brain's white matter. DTI allows researchers to measure the uniformity of water movement (called fractional anisotropy or FA) throughout the brain. Areas of low FA indicate axonal injury while areas of abnormally high FA indicate changes in the brain.
"In a traumatic brain injury, it's not one specific area that is affected but multiple areas of the brain which are interconnected by axons," said Dr. Lipton, who is also associate professor of radiology, of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience at Einstein. "Abnormally low FA within white matter has been correlated with cognitive impairment in concussion patients. We believe that high FA is evidence not of axonal injury, but of brain changes that are occurring in response to the trauma."
One year after their brain injury, the patients completed two standard questionnaires to assess their post-concussion symptoms and evaluate their health status and quality of life. "Most TBI studies assess cognitive function, but it is not at all clear if and how well such measures assess real-life functioning," said Dr. Lipton. "Our questionnaires asked about post-concussion symptoms and how those symptoms affected patients' health and quality of life."
Comparing the DTI data to the patient questionnaires, the researchers found that the presence of abnormally high FA predicted fewer post-concussion symptoms and better functioning. The results suggest that the brain may be actively compensating for its injuries in patients who exhibit areas of high FA on DTI.
"These results could lead to better treatment for concussion if we can find ways to enhance the brain's compensatory mechanisms." Dr. Lipton said.
Dr. Lipton's Einstein and Montefiore coauthors are Sara B. Rosenbaum, B.A., Namhee Kim, Ph.D., Ph.D., Craig A. Branch, Ph.D., Richard B. Lipton, M.D., and Molly E. Zimmerman, Ph.D.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. In 2012, Einstein received over $160 million in awards from the NIH for major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS, as well as other areas. Through its affiliation with Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, and six other hospital systems, the College of Medicine runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu and follow us on Twitter @EinsteinMed.
Montefiore Medical Center
As the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore is a premier academic medical center nationally renowned for its clinical excellence, scientific discovery and commitment to its community. Montefiore is consistently recognized among the top hospitals nationally by U.S. News & World Report, and excels at educating tomorrow's healthcare professionals in superior clinical and humanistic care. Linked by advanced technology, Montefiore is a comprehensive and integrated health system that derives its inspiration for excellence from its patients and community. For more information, please visit www.montefiore.org and www.montekids.org and follow us on Twitter @MontefioreNews.
Kim Newman | EurekAlert!
World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy