A study by doctors at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine provides additional support that use of Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) may be clinically helpful to patients with mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) because it shows possible evidence of brain repair in post-injury patients. Scans conducted one year post-injury show that patients who exhibited abnormally high fractional anisotropy shortly after injury were “significantly associated” with better overall health outcomes.

The DTI scans were performed on a control group and on 39 injured subjects within 16 days of injury and one year later on 26 returning patients. According to the study, the patients were also tested for changes in cognition and symptomology. The results showed that DTI may be a “marker of compensatory neural mechanisms and an indicator of favorable outcome.” This is supportive data to an earlier study showing positive results from DTI use in pediatric patients, and an important study that used DTI to check the movement of water molecules in the brain of NFL players. In the NFL study the scans showed that those with marked deviations in fluid movement also demonstrated “abnormalities in attention and concentration, executive function, learning/memory and spatial/perceptual function.”

The ability to identify areas of damage and potential for repair are expected to inspire development of new effective treatments for patients with TBIs. Cognitive and physical effects of even mild TBIs may require extensive and long-term treatment from various healthcare providers including doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists. If you or someone you know has suffered a TBI you should consult an experienced attorney to find out if you can seek reparation to get assistance with medical bills—consultations are usually free and services are often offered on a contingency basis.

In almost every case in which I represent a client who has sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), the defense courtroom doctors write that my clients have not, in fact, suffered permanent injuries as everyone who suffers a mild traumatic brain injury goes on to eventually and uneventfully recover. If that were true, then we would expect that people who sustain multiple concussion/mild traumatic brain injuries should have no long term effect, because, from this logic, each injury is self-limited and results in full recovery over a period of time.

However, a recent study, which was conducted by researchers with the Department of Veteran Affairs and Boston University, found that 96% of examined NFL players and 79% of all examined football players have suffered the degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is known to be a progressive degenerative disease of the brain, which can be found in person’s suffering from repetitive brain trauma. This trauma includes both symptomatic concussions and asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head.

Additionally, the study found that 40% of those who tested positive CTE were offensive and defensive lineman. “That finding supports past research suggesting that it’s the repeat, more minor head trauma that occurs regularly in football that may pose the greatest risk to players, as opposed to just the sometimes violent collisions that cause concussions.”

This recent study, which can be found here, should certainly put to rest the argument that everyone who suffers a concussion recovers.