Diffusion tensor imaging, or DTI, may prove to be a tool to gauge a person’s risk for long-term brain damage following a concussion, according to new research.
The issue is that while the majority of people bounce back from a concussion without long-lasting side effects, there are some that sustain permanent brain injury as a result, according to Fox News.
Some estimate that group is as high as 30 percent, those who have cognitive problems — like memory loss — or other issues in the aftermath of their concussions.
In a study published in the journal Brain Imaging and Behavior, Dr. Michael Lipton reported on his research using DTI to study “unique patterns of brain abnormalities caused by concussions,” Fox News reported.
Lipton noted that there is a wide variation in the symptoms and issues that people have after sustaining a concussion, even for those who suffer a blow to the same part of the brain.
In the study, DTI was performed on 34 people who had mild traumatic brain injury and 30 who were normal. The patients with the brain injury were scanned two weeks, three months and six months of their injury, Fox News reported.
Those with concussions had unusual “spatial patterns of diffusion,” according to Fox News. You see, DTIs are able to find very subtle brain damage by gauging the diffusion of water in the brain’s white matter, finding patterns that indicate such damage.
By looking at these patterns, Lipton was also able to see where the brain was trying to in effect compensate for the parts of it that were damaged.
Researchers hope that by studying the patterns that DTI discovers they will be able to better predict a patient’s odds for having long-term brain damage.