Friday, October 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

New imaging detecting long-term brain injury effects

By
From page A14 | December 08, 2013 |

By Lee Bowman

Doctors have known for a long time that in some patients, damage to the brain lingerers long after an injury is inflicted by an explosion or a physical blow. Yet the causes of long-term problems from even mild concussions are often invisible to standard brain-scanning techniques.

Recently, scientists have used several unusual imaging methods to detect the long-term effects of brain injury in several experiments on humans or mice.

The most recent study, presented Dec. 2, involved a special magnetic resonance imaging method that was able to detect damage to nerve-signal-carrying white matter in the brains of veterans exposed to a blast. Such injury is difficult to detect with standard imaging techniques.

P. Tyler Roskos, a neuropsychologist at St. Louis University School of Medicine, told the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago that the test showed damage to those nerve channels in 10 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan enduring an average of more than four years after their traumatic brain injury was first diagnosed. About 20 percent of veterans returning from the field in those wars have some level of brain trauma from an explosion.

The imaging technique was actually able to measure changes in water movement along the signal channels, or axons, associated with damage from the injury. The researchers compared the effect to multiple tiny leaks in a garden hose.

By comparing brain images of the 10 injured veterans with those of 10 healthy volunteers, the researchers were able to measure how uniformly water is diffused through the brain and see where low levels indicate areas where axons are injured.

Roskos said such long-term impacts on the brain may account for continuing cognitive and behavioral changes in some veterans with a history of blast-related brain trauma, and may also help in determining whether a veteran is experiencing difficulty from a physical brain injury or psychological damage from post-traumatic stress, or perhaps both, and guide treatment accordingly.

Another study done in mice suggests that a single mild blast exposure can cause brain injuries that modify structures or molecules related to degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Researchers from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System reported in September that mice exposed to just one blast had elevated levels of modified Tau protein that endured for at least a month. This altered form of the protein is the building block for “tau tangles” that build up over time and damage brain cells. The work appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Returning to human brains, a third study reported in March that there can be lasting structural damage to key brain regions for a year or more in some patients following a single concussion.

Radiologists at the New York University Langone School of Medicine did three-dimensional MRIs of 19 individuals with post-traumatic symptoms after a concussion and on 12 uninjured control subjects, repeating the imaging for most after a year. The results were published in the journal Radiology.

They measured the total volume of brain cells and nerve fibers throughout the brain and in specific regions, and found that a year after a concussion there was still measurable atrophy among the injured patients compared with the healthy ones. In particular, areas of the brain linked to mood disorders and more complex thinking appeared to have lingering volume loss.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.7 million Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries each year, with 75 percent of them considered “mild” or a concussion. While many people recover from a concussion in a few weeks, earlier studies have shown 10 to 20 percent suffer from neurological or psychological symptoms more than a year after they are injured.

Dr. Yvonne Lui, an assistant professor of radiology who led the study, said the findings are the first to show this kind of damage continuing after a single concussion, rather than only in people who have sustained moderate to severe head trauma.

She stressed that such damage may not be present in everyone with a concussion, but helps to explain why some have long-term symptoms.

— Contact Scripps health and science writer Lee Bowman at BowmanL@shns.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.

Comments

comments

Scripps Howard News Service

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    State superintendent makes campaign stop in Davis

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Gardner guilty of murder, with special circumstances

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Lawn display causes a theological crisis

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Couple killed in Yolo County crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Same-party races challenge incumbents

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    State races test one-party rule

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

     
    Meet Poppenga at Saturday reception

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Wolk hailed for environmental votes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yamada honored for leadership on aging issues

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Embroidery group meets at mall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Indians celebrate Diwali with gala on Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Rairdan dinged for late report

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

    Veterans will tailgate at ‘Salute to Heroes’ game

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Shambhala offers Tai Chi class

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Bones for Life classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Bet Haverim will hear Israel update

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Local artisans featured at holiday craft fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Kids walk for friends at Birch Lane

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit: Creep out with some spooky science

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

    Enjoy wine, music and art at Sunday fundraiser for DHS choir

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    New-school cheating on the smartphone

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Public service is in her heart

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    A calm, thoughtful voice

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Sunder is a perfect fit

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Best predictor is past behavior

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Vote for students, with Tuck

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    My choices on Tuesday

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Garamendi, Dodd get my votes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    High hopes for Sunder

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS plays undefeated Pacers Friday night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devil girls net an easy win at Grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie offense A-OK; now what about defense?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    In Davis, rugby is as American as apple pie

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
     
    Niemi’s 43 saves aren’t enough in loss to Wild

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Birdman': A dark comedy that soars

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

     
    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Marcia Ball to play at The Palms

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Business

    Big, capable luxury defines Yukon

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Joseph Francis Gray

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 31, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER3

    RE/Max Gold

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER4

    Kim Eichorn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER5

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Team Traverso

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Yolo FCU

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Juan Ramirez

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Tracy Harris

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Julie Leonard

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Joe Kaplan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER10

    Leslie Blevins

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Robin Garland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Jamie Madison

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Diane Lardelli

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Ciana Wallace

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER15

    Travis Credit Union

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER16

    Malek Baroody

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

    Marcelo Campos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER20