As California brain injury lawyers, we have represented victims and families dealing with the devastation of head injuries. These injuries can range from mild traumatic brain injury which can itself have devastating symptoms, to traumatic brain injury which can result in tragic medical consequences. The word “mild” does not actually mean that the symptoms are mild. In fact, a mild traumatic brain injury can cause life-changing symptoms and have a major impact on such functions as memory, cognition and other areas of brain function.
And now a medical research project at the VA San Diego Healthcare System which started about three years ago to discern post-traumatic stress disorder from traumatic brain injury, is gaining national attention and could help all patients who are suffering brain injuries.
Mingxiong Huang and his colleague Roland Lee are medical researchers at the University of California San Diego. They have focused on the specific diagnostic tool magnetoencephalography, or MEG, and diffusion tensor imaging to determine whether this tool might be a better diagnostic method than MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
According to the report in the North County Times, these research findings are so promising that Huang is headed to Washington to brief officials as to how these advanced brain-imaging techniques might just be the answer for more accurate detection of not only mild traumatic brain injuries, but distinguishing these injuries from the post traumatic stress disorder.
We are aware that MRI does not reveal some brain injuries after car accidents for example, because we have represented clients that had normal MRI’s, but suffered severe symptoms after an accident, such as a rear-end vehicle collision. As it turns out, the research reveals that in fact 70 percent of traumatic brain injuries are not found on MRI which is the most commonly used device for scanning and diagnosing brain injuries.
These researchers have found that “damaged areas of the brain appeared on MEG scans as having slower-than-normal brain waves, while diffusion tensor imaging recorded those areas as black holes or as frayed or weakened fibers.” This will not only help doctors distinguish brain trauma from post-traumatic stress disorder in about 90 percent of the cases, it will also help diagnose mild traumatic brain injuries.