New Hope For Diagnosing Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are so similar in their symptomatic profiles that they're often confused or misdiagnosed. But a U.S. research team is working to develop a new diagnostic method to accurately distinguish between TBI and PTSD. 

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What are TBI and PTSD?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when the brain sustains a violent blow or shake - as with injuries resulting from car accidents or contact sports.

PTSD can affect war veterans, victims of torture, assault or natural disaster and others who experience, witness or were threatened by life-threatening events. Symptoms can overlap and may include anxiety, fatigue, depression, mood changes, problems with memory or concentration and a host of other aftereffects.

The New Diagnostic Technology

There is currently no standardized, accurate method for diagnosing either TBI or PTSD. The typical protocol is the thorough discussion of the symptoms with a skilled physician. But results can be subjective.

The new diagnostic method is being developed by Harvard Medical School, Brigham Women's Hospital and researchers at Draper, a not-for-profit company in Massachusetts.

It's a new, non-invasive biopsy based on existing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. But instead of using magnetic fields to produce spatial images of the brain, technicians use magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to measure metabolites - chemical elements found in the brain.

Researchers perform the tests on both healthy control participants and TBI and PTSD participants. The data is then run through a series of algorithms. Comparing the results, researchers have begun to notice differing chemical profiles distinguishing TBI and PTSD participants.

Although the results are promising, continued research on greater numbers of participants is still required. But the emerging technology provides hope of gaining accurate diagnoses for those who have experienced TBIs or PTSD, along with further exciting applications in other brain conditions.

Gluckstein Lawyers are avid supporters of advancing brain injury research. The legal team continues to dedicate itself to supporting the legal interests and overall well-being of injured persons and their families.


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