New scanning techniques could help detect late-showing brain dysfunction

Posted Nov 24 2010 in Brain science; genetics

New scanning techniques could help doctors detect problems in the brain months after an injury, according to Canadian doctors.

Researchers at a number of Canadian instructions have reviewed the latest research into the long-lasting effect sports injuries can have on brain function, a leading cause of epilepsy.

The review claims new brain scanning techniques such as Event Related Potential (ERP) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are more effective at detecting problems in the brain than traditional behavioural testing following a concussion.

Dr Alain Ptito, neuropsychologist at The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital and lead investigator of the review, claimed the technologies can identify issues years after an injury.

He said: "The changes observed in ERP and fMRI are found not only in the acute phase (less than three months) after concussion, but sometimes several weeks or even years after, suggesting that the dysfunction, though qualified as mild, may persist.

"This indicates that absence of symptoms is not necessarily an absolute marker of complete brain recovery."

The review was published in The Physician and Sportsmedicine USA journal. 

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