UCLA researchers have found a biological marker that can predict early on whether a child will experience further cognitive decline after a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Children and adolescents who sustain traumatic brain injuries may either steadily progress toward normal, pre-injury functioning or suffer progressive cognitive decline. Nearly half of children who experience moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries show this decline, with resulting poor academic outcomes.
UCLA Study Finds TBI Outcomes Link
In a University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) study published in the online issue of the medical journal Neurology, senior author Robert Asarnow from UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences reported that scientists are able to predict the outcomes of those who experience a traumatic brain injury. Using special MRIs and electroencephalograms (EEGs), scientists can now measure brain function by examining the speed of brain signals passing from one part of the brain to another. Asarnow said that, by understanding why and how kids develop neurodegeneration, doctors can use existing treatments or new ways to delay the process.
The researchers conducted the study on 21 children aged eight to 18 with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries acquired through auto-pedestrian accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and falls. The subjects were assessed twice using MRI and EEG: the first assessment was two to five months after injury and the second was 13 to 19 months post-injury. The results of the assessments were compared with children of the same age who did not experience traumatic brain injury.
TBI patients who had healthy white matter or normal signaling between brain hemispheres shown on MRI progressed more favorably compared to those with significantly slower signaling, who showed progressive decline. Progressive decline would cause poor academic outcomes and adverse effects on other areas of their lives.
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