New research from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center in New York may have found evidence for the brain compensating after injury.
Using MRI technology, the doctors believe they can examine the movement of water molecules along and within axons, the nerve fibers that make up the brain’s white matter, to see which patients have a higher chance of recovery.
Their study found that low uniformity of water movement throughout the brain indicated axonal injury, while abnormally high levels of water movement in and around axons indicated changes in the brain to compensate for damage.
The uniformity of water movement throughout the brain (called fractional anisotropy or FA) acted as indicators of how well a patient would heal from their brain injuries. Those with abnormally high FA, where the brain was compensating for damage, showed fewer post-concussion symptoms and better functioning, whereas low FA patients experienced more cognitive impairment after their concussion.
The findings were announced at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, and were reported by Outcome Magazine.