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New technique under development for diagnosing brain injuries

Massachusetts residents may be interested in an article detailing an emerging method for diagnosing traumatic brain injuries. This new technique may make it possible for doctors to visualize the injury in the patient's brain, rather than relying on the patient's own description of their symptoms.

Diagnosing traumatic brain injuries presents many problems for physicians. Traditional scans, such as MRI and CT scans, are not sufficient for detecting the changes that these brain injuries cause. These changes can only be viewed through a microscope. Doctors must instead rely on a patient's description of symptoms in order to accurately diagnose, but in some patients this can be difficult. Patients, such as military and sports professionals, often hide the truth of their symptoms in order to avoid removal from their duties.

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, funded by the U.S. military, are investigating a new way of diagnosing these injuries. This method, taken from a technique used to identify infections in the lungs, involves the use of positron emission tomography scans. Special compounds are attached to white blood cells. These white blood cells then gather at the site of a brain injury as part of the body's natural immune response. Doctors can then see the injury using a PET scan. One researcher likens this to a "trojan horse" approach. Future tests and clinical trials are planned to evaluate this new technique.

Traumatic brain injuries, whether due to sports or other types of accidents, can require extensive rehabilitation and long-term care for recovery. An attorney who has experience in these types of injury cases may be able to help recover compensation from the responsible party. This may involve a negotiated settlement with the liable party or a civil lawsuit, if necessary.

Source: Medical Xpress, "Could a 'trojan horse' better identify traumatic brain injury?", October 28, 2013

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