Image via Flickr user Reigh LeBlanc: http://www.flickr.com/photos/reighleblanc/3854685038/sizes/o/
Brain injuries are often referred to as “invisible injuries” due to the limitations of brain imaging technology. That may be changing with the advent of Diffusion MRI technology.
In a study published in a recent issue of Neurology, researchers revealed that abnormalities from a mild concussion can be seen to linger up to four months after the actual injury. These abnormalities may not show up on standard MRI or CT scans, but can be detected using diffusion MRI technology. One of the abnormalities, a higher degree of fractional anisotrophy, might be an indication of the healing process, according to a study presented to the Radiological Society of North America.
The study found that even after the symptoms of a mild concussion have receded–including memory loss and difficulty maintaining attention–the physiology of the brain seems to take quite a bit longer. If this is the case, people who have suffered a mild concussion may need more time before they can return to their pre-injury activity level.
For brain injury victims, this technology offers hope that the so-called “invisible disability” may one day be better understood.
Read the full article on the Smithsonian blog.
Contributed by Laura Hillyer, an OTLA Board member and chair of OTLA’s Public Relations Committee (2013-2014). Ms. Hillyer is a lawyer practising with Martin & Hillyer Associates in Burlington, Ont.