MRI for Mild Brain Injury: Improvements Made


MRI for Mild Brain Injury

Improved MRI for Mild Brain Injury techniques that are  showing increasing abnormalities in Mild Brain Injury cases. Developments over the last decade have made the MRI potentially more valuable in the diagnosis of post concussion syndrome brain abnormalities. This in the hope that the improved MRI for mild brain injury will help in better diagnosis of brain injury and it’s severity.

First has been the introduction of higher resolution MRI for mild brain injury, primarily 3 Tesla strength scanners.  The previous generation scanners were 1.5 Tesla strength.

Second has been the clinical application of Diffusion Tensor Imaging, DTI, which can show damage to axonal tracts.

Third is the development of Susceptibility Weighted Imaging, SWI, which is far more sensitive to hemosiderin deposits than Gradient Echo Imaging, the best prior technique.

While when I first authored this page in 2004 I thought that these advances would totally change the “objective” nature of TBI diagnosis, in hindsight, the advances have been more incremental.  The “breakthrough” I first called the 3 T scan has not materialized.

The footprint of pathology approach to brain injury diagnosis has been largely unchanged by these improvements.  A survivor with a persisting Post Concussion Syndrome will still be only properly diagnosed by clinician who understands the full breadth and behavioral aspects of the diagnosis of mild brain injury.

There has been very little change with diagnosis of brain injury as far as cognitive deficits go.  Physicians and neuropsychologists are still missing the boat.  They are of the mind set that if you can’t see the damage on imaging devices, it doesn’t exist.  As brain injury advocates know better.  If a person has deficits such as aphasia, trouble making decisions or even time management problems, it may not show results on an MRI but  they still exist.  As advocates we will continue to fight for better manners of diagnosing.  The brain injury survivors deserve the continuation of improving testing and getting an a curate diagnosis.


NEXT: Thingomometers.

by Attorney Gordon Johnson