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Researchers tie TBI to brain connection problems

New Mexico residents who have sustained traumatic brain injuries may be interested to learn that Texas researchers believe they have gained insights into how TBIs impact chronic sufferers. Their study revealed that six or more months following an injury, patients may display signs of connectivity problems between different areas of their brains. This phenomenon might contribute to long-term cognitive impairments associated with TBI, and scientists are hopeful that the discovery could lead to improved treatment methods.

The researchers used MRIs from 40 patients who had suffered TBIs and compared them to 17 people who had not. In addition to reporting disruptions in normal brain network connectivity, they observed issues with networks associated with control and attention. Experts say these networks have to cooperate properly for people to perform regular tasks and achieve their goals from day to day.

One researcher noted that unlike other studies, which assessed different brain networks individually, this project was novel in that it concentrated on the way networks connect in healthy people versus TBI sufferers. The lead author said that network interactions play roles in basic functions like planning, problem solving and learning and suggested that some impairments may arise because TBIs make these group behaviors less efficient.

Brain injury treatment isn't the only aspect of TBIs that is not yet fully understood. Scientists are constantly discovering new things about how permanent brain damage impacts sufferers long after their original injuries. TBIs have multiple behavioral, psychological and physiological symptoms, and medical practitioners fail to treat them properly in some cases. Those who have been victims of such malpractice may ultimately have to pursue legal remedies to offset their increased treatment costs or the additional living expenses they incur on a daily basis.

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