Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Imaging shows long-term impact of blast-induced brain injuries in veterans

Date:
December 2, 2013
Source:
Radiological Society of North America
Summary:
Using a special type of magnetic resonance imaging, researchers have found that soldiers who suffered mild traumatic brain injury induced by blast exposure exhibit long-term brain differences, according to a new study.

Using a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), researchers have found that soldiers who suffered mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) induced by blast exposure exhibit long-term brain differences, according to a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Recent wars have resulted in veterans with an exposure rate of approximately 20 percent to blast-induced MTBI, or trauma resulting from mortar fire and improvised explosive devices. Diagnosis can be challenging, especially in mild cases.

"Mild traumatic brain injury is difficult to identify using standard CT or MRI," said study co-author P. Tyler Roskos, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist and assistant research professor at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. "Other methods may have added sensitivity."

One of those methods is diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an MRI technique used to identify microstructural injury to white matter, the part of the brain that consists mostly of signal-carrying axons. Damage-associated changes in water movement along the axons are comparable in certain respects to what might happen with a garden hose, according to co-author Thomas M. Malone, B.A., research associate at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

"As water passes through the hose from the faucet to the sprinkler, it goes in the same direction, but if you were to puncture the hose with a rake, the water would shoot out the sides," Malone said.

In the study, researchers compared DTI-derived fractional anisotropy (FA) values in 10 veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom who had been diagnosed with MTBI with those of 10 healthy controls. FA measures the uniformity of water diffusion throughout the brain, and low FA tends to indicate areas of axonal injury. The average time elapsed between the blast-induced injury and DTI among the patients was 51.3 months.

"The time since injury is a novel component to our study," Dr. Roskos said. "Most other blast-related MTBI studies examine patients in the acute phase of injury."

Comparison of FA values showed significant differences between the two groups, and there were significant correlations between FA values and attention, delayed memory and psychomotor test scores. Since the victims were, on average, more than four years removed from their injuries, the results suggest the presence of a long-term impact of blast injury on the brain.

"This long-term impact on the brain may account for ongoing cognitive and behavioral symptoms in some veterans with a history of blast-related MTBI," Dr. Roskos said.

The results also indicate that DTI is sensitive to group differences in blast-related MTBI even in the post-acute phase.

"DTI shows promise in enhanced sensitivity for detecting MTBI compared to MRI/CT, even in the chronic phase," Dr. Roskos said. "Identification of changes in specific brain regions may help in diagnosis and treatment of MTBI among veterans."

Dr. Roskos explained that this research is aimed at finding better ways for the clinician to differentiate between MTBI and PTSD in veterans in order to improve treatment.

"It makes a difference, because PTSD is psychological in nature and MTBI is neurological," he said. "Many veterans in the healthcare system are dealing with MTBI, PTSD or both. Our emphasis today is to find the best treatments and measure the patient's progress. Imaging has the potential to do that."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Radiological Society of North America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Radiological Society of North America. "Imaging shows long-term impact of blast-induced brain injuries in veterans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202082638.htm>.
Radiological Society of North America. (2013, December 2). Imaging shows long-term impact of blast-induced brain injuries in veterans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202082638.htm
Radiological Society of North America. "Imaging shows long-term impact of blast-induced brain injuries in veterans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202082638.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins