Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been shown to prove the existence of brain damage which other techniques, such as MRIs, CT scans and x-rays were unable to detect. DTI has the ability to show microscopic damage to the pathways, which messages use when traveling inside the brain.
For the past 10 years, the National Football League and the US military have been using DTI technologies to detect brain injuries, most commonly, concussions.
Although this technology could be critical in the diagnosing and treatment of brain injuries, some defense attorneys are challenging its validity. Several states currently allow this technology to be used in the courtroom, such as New York, Florida, Louisiana, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico and Massachusetts. However, the defense bar is not conceding the admissibility of DTI without a fight.
The argument is that even if an accident caused someone’s brain to change at a microscopic level in an area associated with memory the change may have nothing to do with why the person has become more forgetful. Before DTI, practitioners were limited to presenting the results of neuropsychological tests as evidence of mild traumatic brain injury. Although these neuropsychological tests are useful in prosecuting a brain injury case, the use of DTI technologies could greatly aid in future cases and the treatment of patients throughout the country.