Amazing – this could be the break we’ve been looking for, in getting people to take TBI/concussion seriously.
U. PITTSBURGH (US) — New imaging technology will allow doctors to clearly see for the first time neural connections broken by traumatic brain injury.
High definition fiber tracking reveals loss of fibers, or connections, on the injured right side (yellow) and the intact, undamaged left side (green). The patient was injured in an ATV accident and lost function in his left leg, arm, and hand. (Credit: Walt Schneider Laboratory)
“Until now, we have had no objective way of identifying how the injury damaged the patient’s brain tissue, predicting how the patient would fare, or planning rehabilitation to maximize the recovery.”
HDFT might be able to provide those answers, says co-senior author Walter Schneider, professor of psychology, who led the team that developed the technology.
Data from sophisticated MRI scanners is processed through computer algorithms to reveal the wiring of the brain in vivid detail and to pinpoint breaks in the cables, called fiber tracts. Each tract contains millions of neuronal connections.
“In our experiments, HDFT has been able to identify disruptions in neural pathways with a clarity that no other method can see,” Schneider says. “With it, we can virtually dissect 40 major fiber tracts in the brain to find damaged areas and quantify the proportion of fibers lost relative to the uninjured side of the brain or to the brains of healthy individuals. Now, we can clearly see breaks and identify which parts of the brain have lost connections.”