Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel brain imaging technique explains why concussions affect people differently

08.06.2012
Patients vary widely in their response to concussion, but scientists haven't understood why.

Now, using a new technique for analyzing data from brain imaging studies, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center have found that concussion victims have unique spatial patterns of brain abnormalities that change over time.

The new technique could eventually help in assessing concussion patients, predicting which head injuries are likely to have long-lasting neurological consequences, and evaluating the effectiveness of treatments, according to lead author Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., associate director of the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at Einstein and medical director of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services at Montefiore. The findings are published today in the online edition of Brain Imaging and Behavior.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than one million Americans sustain a concussion (also known as mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI) each year. Concussions in adults result mainly from motor vehicle accidents or falls. At least 300,000 adults and children are affected by sports-related concussions each year. While most people recover from concussions with no lasting ill effects, as many as 30 percent suffer permanent impairment – undergoing a personality change or being unable to plan an event. A 2003 federal study called concussions "a serious public health problem" that costs the U.S. an estimated $80 billion a year.

Previous imaging studies found differences between the brains of people who have suffered concussions and normal individuals. But those studies couldn't assess whether concussion victims differ from one another. "In fact, most researchers have assumed that all people with concussions have abnormalities in the same brain regions," 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. "But that doesn't make sense, since it is more likely that different areas would be affected in each person because of differences in anatomy, vulnerability to injury and mechanism of injury."

In the current study, the Einstein researchers used a recently developed MRI technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) on 34 consecutive patients (19 women and 15 men aged 19 to 64) diagnosed with mTBI at Montefiore in the Bronx and on 30 healthy controls. The patients were imaged within two weeks of injury and again three and six months afterward.

The imaging data were then analyzed using a new software tool called Enhanced Z-score Microstructural Assessment Pathology (EZ-MAP), which allows researchers for the first time to examine microstructural abnormalities across the entire brain of individual patients. EZ-MAP was developed by Dr. Lipton and his colleagues at Einstein.

DTI detects subtle damage to the brain by measuring the direction of diffusion of water in white matter. The same technology was used by Dr. Lipton and his team in widely publicized research on more than 30 amateur soccer players who had all played the sport since childhood. They found that frequent headers showed brain injury similar to that seen in patients with concussion.

The uniformity of diffusion direction – an indicator of whether tissue has maintained its microstructural integrity – is measured on a zero-to-one scale called fractional anisotropy (FA). In the latest study, areas of abnormally low FA (reflecting abnormal brain regions) were observed in concussion patients but not in controls. Each concussion patient had a unique spatial pattern of low FA that evolved over the study period.

Surprisingly, each patient also had a unique, evolving pattern of abnormally high FA distinct from the areas of low FA. "We found widespread high FA at every time point, all the way out to six months and even in patients more than one year out from their injury." said Dr. Lipton. "We suspect that high FA represents a response to the injury. In other words, the brain may be trying to compensate for the injury by developing and enhancing other neural connections. This is a new and unexpected finding."

At present, diagnosis of concussions is based mainly on the nature of the patient's accident and the presence of symptoms including headache, dizziness and behavioral abnormalities. DTI, combined with EZ-MAP analysis, might offer a more objective tool for diagnosing concussion injuries and for predicting which patients will have persistent and progressive symptoms.

The paper is titled "Robust Detection of Traumatic Axonal Injury in Individual Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Patients: Intersubject Variation, Change Over Time and Bidirectional Changes in Anisotropy." Contributors include Namhee Kim, Ph.D.; Tova M. Gardin, B.A.; Keivan Shifteh, M.D.; Mimi Kim, Sc.D.; Molly E. Zimmerman, Ph.D.; Richard B. Lipton, M.D.; and Craig A. Branch, Ph.D., all of Einstein and Montefiore; and Young Park, M.D., who earned his degree from Einstein; and Miriam Hulkower, a medical student at Einstein.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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 2011, Einstein received nearly $170 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 post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering 155 residency programs to more than 2,200 physicians in training. 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!
Further information:
http://www.einstein.yu.edu

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Can radar replace stethoscopes?
14.08.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Novel PET imaging method could track and guide therapy for type 1 diabetes
03.08.2018 | Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>