New advances may help treatment of traumatic brain injuries

A doctor working with many veterans that struggle with brain injuries from bomb blasts in combat reports that several of the veterans would say that they experienced trouble reading after the trauma. This prompted the doctor to evaluate the eye movements of these individuals while reading, which were irregular. Eye scans also revealed thinner cell walls in these patients.

The ramifications of these findings are significant. This research suggests that doctors may soon be able to more readily test for neurological damage in the brain after severe external blows by examining the eyes. This technology could be applied not just to those in combat, but to sports players and car accident victims.

This could also work to better evaluate how a treatment is working for victims of traumatic brain injuries suffered under a variety of circumstances. At present, the only manner to really definitively confirm an advanced brain injury is by taking a sample of brain tissue to look for abnormal protein deposits. This can only be done after the patient is no longer living, which is therefore ineffectual for helping treat the victim.

One doctor also working on this research says, “It could have a lot of implications for sports injuries, where you’d like to be able to quickly test whether a concussion might be significant.”

We have previously discussed how traumatic brain injuries are difficult to diagnose and treat, but advances like this could change that and help monitor treatments to lend a better quality of life to victims that suffer with such injuries in Pennsylvania.

Source: The Seattle Times, “Eyes may provide new insight into brain problems,” Sandi Doughton, May 5, 2013



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