According to new study results, in some patients who have sustained concussions the brain may change to compensate for the damage caused by the injury. Researchers of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center note that the findings could potentially lead to new strategies for preventing and repairing the damage linked to traumatic brain injury (TBI).

A recent news release notes that the study encompassed 17 patients brought to the emergency department at Montefiore and Jacobi Medical Centers and diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). In the two weeks following injury, participants underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). One year following injury, researchers say participants completed two standard questionnaires designed to evaluate their post-concussion symptoms, their health status, and quality of life. Researchers report that the DTI data was then compared to the patient questionnaires.

The results suggest that the presence of abnormally high fractional anisotrophy (FA) predicted fewer post-concussion symptoms and better functioning. The results also indicated that during this process the brain may be actively compensating for its injuries in patients who exhibit areas of elevated FA on DTI.

Michael Lipton, MD, PhD, study leader, notes that, “Abnormally low FA within white matter has been correlated with cognitive impairment in concussion patients. We believe that high FA is evidence not of axonal injury, but of brain changes that are occurring in response to the trauma,” Lipton says.

Lipton adds that the study’s results could ultimately lead to better treatment for concussion if approaches for enhancing the brain’s compensatory mechanisms can be pinpointed.

Source: Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University