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Brain connectivity after a TBI could explain cognitive loss

It is common for a traumatic brain injury to cause cognitive impairment, which has a negative impact on the quality of life of the estimated 1.7 million people who experience TBIs every year in the United States. Affected individuals and their families in Oklahoma might find interesting that University of Texas researchers have identified intricate brain connectivity during chronic stages of a TBI that could explain the long-term cognitive loss in patients.

The researchers conducted a study that assessed MRI scans from 40 TBI patients and compared them to MRI scans from 17 healthy people. They matched the participants’ ages, genders and years of education. The average length of time since the TBI participants were injured was eight years, and they did not have a history of clinically diagnosed or otherwise significant neurological or psychiatric conditions before the injury.

The researchers found that patients who are six months or more post-TBI had between-network, inter-hemispheric and long-range disruptions in brain connectivity. They specifically saw disruptions between the default mode and frontoparietal control networks as well as the default mode and dorsal attention networks.

The lead author of the study explains that brain connectivity between these networks is necessary to control internal thoughts and complete daily activities in productive environments. The network interactions are intertwined and vital to everyday functions such as learning, planning and solving problems. The research indicates that reduced cognitive ability might be the result of hindered brain connectivity. The principal investigator for the study added that they plan to research how to enhance or improve brain connectivity even after a TBI.

A TBI could occur in a slip and fall, sports activity or traffic collision, and it could take anywhere from hours to months before any symptoms of long-term complications arise. It is important for patients to receive proper medical attention so that the effects are diagnosed and documented. If the TBI was the result of someone else’s negligence, taking this step could improve the victim’s chances of receiving compensation through a personal injury lawsuit filed with the assistance of an attorney.