Navigation Links
Hi-Tech Scan Detects Soldiers' Head Injuries
Date:6/1/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Using a sophisticated new imaging technique, researchers were able to find previously undetected changes in the brains of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who had been diagnosed with mild brain injuries sustained from blast explosions.

Although emphasizing that the researchers are "absolutely not there yet," Christine Mac Donald, lead author of the study, said that one day this imaging technique "could potentially be utilized to assist a physician in making a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury."

That, in turn, could help guide therapy and decisions about when a soldier should return to duty, added Mac Donald, who is a research instructor in the department of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

But negative scans don't rule out traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a diagnosis. So, for the time being, diagnoses should be made based on a clinical history, including information on loss of consciousness, memory loss, confusion and other symptoms, the researchers said.

The study findings are published in the June 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"The collection of this data is a monumental achievement. Working in the chaos of war, the authors have extracted very high quality data from soldiers exposed to [traumatic brain injury] experiences," said Keith A. Young, vice chair for research in the department of psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. "It strikes the right note in pointing us to future diagnostic procedures."

Blast-related traumatic brain injuries, which have affected some 320,000 troops, are considered the "signature" injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But there has been some debate over whether some of these milder injuries -- concussions -- that impose no visible damage can actually damage the brain.

The imaging technique employed for the new study -- diffusion tensor imaging, or DTI -- looks at how water moves in the brain. Certain patterns of movement indicate that neurons (nerve cells) are damaged or intact.

The study involved 63 U.S. military personnel who had undergone a mild traumatic brain injury in Iraq or Afghanistan who later underwent diffusion tensor imaging in Germany. All had experienced primary blast exposure (due to explosions) and another injury from falling or a vehicular accident.

These people were compared with 21 soldiers who did not have a clinical diagnosis of traumatic brain injury.

The researchers found abnormalities in 29 percent of the patients who had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, but not in the control group. And these abnormalities weren't visible on conventional MRI exams.

The anomalies linked to explosive blasts were different from those seen in civilians with mild brain trauma caused by falls, sports injuries, car accidents and blows to the head. The abnormalities changed over time but were still visible a year later, the study authors said.

But at this point it's not clear whether the abnormalities mean the brain has been damaged.

"The importance of this study is that it clearly delineates DTI [diffusion tensor imaging] as a valuable MRI procedure with potential to tell us about brain damage related to TBI [traumatic brain injury]," said Young, who is core leader for neuroimaging and genetics at the Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans in Temple, Texas. "We just have to figure out what DTI is telling us."

A letter to the editor in the same issue of the journal said eye injuries suffered by soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may be going undetected.

That conclusion was based on examinations of 46 veterans who had been injured in a blast explosion and who also had traumatic brain injury. Eye injuries were found in 43 percent of the group.

The letter authors recommended that soldiers undergo extensive eye exams upon returning from a war zone.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on traumatic brain injury.

SOURCES: Christine Mac Donald, Ph.D., research instructor, department of neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Keith A. Young, Ph.D., vice chair for research, department of psychiatry and behavioral science, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and core leader for neuroimaging and genetics, Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, Temple, Texas; June 2, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. In Tests, Implanted Monitor Detects Atrial Fibrillation
2. Nanotech breath sensor detects diabetes and potentially serious complication
3. Molecular imaging detects recurrent prostate cancer
4. Eat safer: Novel approach detects unknown food pathogens
5. Color-changing blast badge detects exposure to explosive shock waves
6. Electronic nose detects cancer
7. MEMS thermal sensor detects pre-atherosclerotic lesions
8. Simple blood test detects early emphysema in smokers before symptoms appear
9. In pilot study, screening detects potentially serious heart conditions in healthy children
10. New test detects early-stage, asbestos-related pulmonary cancer
11. Protein test detects early-stage, asbestos-related pulmonary cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the ... several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe ... from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine ... his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex set of ... or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and suffering, Serenity ... event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from depression, guilt, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... now offering micro-osteoperforation for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with ... Damon brackets , AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Haute Beauty Network, ... M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s newest partner. ... the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should be invisible.” He ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)...   Pulmatrix, Inc ., (NASDAQ: PULM ... announced today that it was added to the Russell ... comprehensive set of U.S. and global equity indexes on ... milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief Executive Officer Robert ... progress in developing drugs for crucial unmet medical needs, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Any dentist who has made an implant supported ... Many of them do not even offer this as a ... laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE able to offer ... high cost that the majority of today,s patients would not ... Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. and inventor of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Capricor Therapeutics, ... a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development ... patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne clinical ... 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects the ... quarter of 2016, and to report top line ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: