A new study carried out by the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the United States suggests that brain imaging could help people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury to get more prompt and better treatment. By using MRI scans, doctors are able to detect microbleeding on the brain, a complication which sometimes triggers brain swelling or stroke.
This is good news for members of the military as traumatic brain injuries can be a large problem in service, with many injuries of this nature not being imaged until several months after the occurrence. This has meant that many incidences of cerebral micro hemorrhage have been missed, which in turn has meant that the correct treatments have been delayed.
The study was based on over 600 military personnel
During the study, special MRI scans were used to examine over 600 military personnel with a traumatic brain injury diagnosis. As bleeding in the brain is more difficult to diagnose over time, these special scans give better results, as they are far more sensitive to bleeding that conventional MRI scans. The participants were split into two groups: those who were injured in the last three months, and those whose injuries were sustained over three months ago. It was found that 7% of the participants in the study had suffered at least one incidence of microbleeding.
The results of the study showed that the military personnel who underwent an MRI more than a year after their injury had a lower rate of microbleeding than those who were scanned within 12 months. Furthermore, the researchers detected bleeding in 24% of those who had a scan three months after their TBI, compared to a detection rate of just 5.2% in patients scanned 12 months after their injury.
Early detection is vital to ensure timely and appropriate treatment
The researchers believe that by identifying cerebral micro hemorrhages as soon as possible, it may not only help to explain and identify the severity of the damage to the brain, but it would enable medical professionals to provide more timely treatment. Currently, approximately 1.7 million people in the United States suffer traumatic brain injuries every year.
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