New research indicates that traumatic brain injuries may actually change brain structure in a way that leads to impaired brain function. Pennsylvania residents who have had brain injuries, even mild ones, may be at risk for developing memory difficulties or other cognitive problems from these changes.
Among people in Pennsylvania with traumatic brain injuries, the symptoms can span a wide range of physical, behavioral and cognitive changes. Sometimes a person can recover, but others may require care and support for the rest of their lives.
University of Pittsburgh researchers have joined 19 other U.S. institutions in an $18.8 million National Institutes of Health study on traumatic brain injuries. The clinical director of the Brain Trauma Research Center at Pitt and associate professor of neurological surgery leads the local part of the project. This five-year study is one of the largest international research collaborations ever assembled by funding agencies and is to be conducted through the University of California San Francisco.
Pennsylvania readers might be interested to learn that individuals who suffer from a traumatic brain injury may show behavior changes soon after their injury has occurred. There are two ways that a trauma-related brain disease might develop; either the person will exhibit behavior and mood disorders or they'll exhibit cognitive impairment.
Researchers are still looking for a reliable way to measure the level of consciousness in patients with severe brain trauma. It is hard to assess the level of consciousness in these patients because many cannot even blink or move their fingers. A team of researchers from Italy says that current methods that assess images of the brain or the level of neuron activity are not reliable.