Medical professionals experience difficulties with consistently detecting and diagnosing mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in patients. However, a new study testing the accuracy of an advanced imaging scanner in identifying TBIs is yielding some promising results. If this scanner proves more efficient in locating TBIs than other technologies, many TBI victims could be treated earlier and enjoy quicker recoveries. This news is exciting, especially for individuals injured in car crashes and other serious accidents.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
People who sustain blunt force trauma to their heads often suffer TBIs, which can range from mild or moderate injuries to severe and debilitating conditions. According to the California Department of Mental Health, around 1.4 million people suffer TBIs in the U.S. annually. This results in about 1.1 million emergency room visits, 235,000 hospitalizations and 50,000 deaths each year. Of the 29,354 patients hospitalized for TBIs in California in 2007, 7 percent died and 25 percent were transferred to receive more specialized medical care.
Advanced Imaging Scanner Study
An advanced imaging scanner that had been used to research epilepsy, strokes and severe brain disorder may now offer new help to doctors in diagnosing and treating TBIs. The scanner employs non-invasive magnetoencephalography (MEG) technology to record and create detailed images of brain activity. A recent study conducted by the Veterans Affairs in conjunction with military and university researchers found that this scanner accurately identified mild to moderate cases of TBI in 55 military and civilian patients.
Impact to TBI Victims
When they are not catastrophic injuries, traumatic brain injuries are relatively invisible injuries that manifest themselves through emotional, mental, behavioral and sometimes physical symptoms. Although many TBI victims fully heal after six to nine months, 20 percent suffer long-term effects. If the advanced imaging scanner study proves successful, it could make these invisible wounds more visible, which can help physicians understand the extent of the brain damage and the brain's recovery process. This could lead to more accurate diagnoses and better treatment options for TBI patients.
Recovering From TBIs
While some people who suffer TBIs are involved in military activities and sports, falls and motor vehicle crashes are also major causes of TBIs. While accidents happen, in many TBI cases there is an element of negligence or recklessness by a third party that results in a person's head or brain injury. Both detecting and diagnosing TBIs can be difficult, but even more challenging for victims and their families is finding the money to pay for the long-term medical care and rehabilitative treatment needed to heal from TBIs.
If you recently sustained a blunt force trauma to the head, or you were diagnosed with a TBI, contact a California personal injury attorney to investigate the causes of your injury and analyze the unique circumstances of your case today. You may be able to recover not only from your TBI, but also for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.