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Researchers strive to improve complex brain injury diagnosis

Our brains are complex organs. They control how Virginians think, move and feel. This complexity also affects diagnosis and treatment when a Virginian suffers from a brain injury.

According to one doctor who specializes in the treatment of spinal cord and brain injuries, it can be challenging for doctors to identify problems in a person's brain. A brain injury may be missed if the specific brain area affected is not tested. Currently, one singular test cannot diagnose a brain injury or brain damage. It may be necessary for doctors to perform multiple medical tests, rely on the accounts of eyewitnesses, and question a patient to determine the nature of his or her injury.

Furthermore, a wide range of brain injuries can occur. A head injury may lead to anything from major brain damage to a mild concussion. Symptoms vary as well. Some Virginians with brain injuries may experience dizziness, others memory loss. Additionally, tests commonly used to diagnose brain injuries, such as MRIs or CAT scans, may not even reveal a brain injury when in fact a person does have one.

Many people seek out emergency medical services when they have suffered from a head injury and are in urgent need of medical care. The medical limitations surrounding brain injury diagnosis is frightening, as prompt and effective treatment of brain injuries is essential for victims' recovery.

As researchers seek new ways to diagnose brain trauma, including improving brain injury classifications based on data that includes cognitive measures and eye tracking, Virginians will undoubtedly hope that the medical field will make strides toward better diagnosis and prompt treatment. This way, it is hoped, all victims of brain injuries will have a promising chance of rehabilitation and recovery.

Source: Press of Atlantic City, "Brain injury difficult to diagnose and treat," Nicole Leonard, March 28, 2016

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