Experiencing a brain injury can permanently change an individual’s physical and mental health, affecting everything from speech and memory to movement. In this article we’ll explore five promising scientific discoveries that could help those individuals living with a brain injury.
According to research from the Centre for Mental Health, around 160,000 people in the UK per year are hospitalised due to traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury refers to a type of acquired injury, occurring when trauma causes damage to the brain, for example a blow to the head, or an object penetrating the skull.
Experiencing a brain injury can permanently affect a person’s cognitive skills, memory, fine motor skills and movement, and the ability to carry out everyday tasks. After suffering a brain injury, people often need the support of a brain injury solicitor, assisting them to claim compensation for their losses, and cover their health care and rehabilitation costs.
Thankfully, over time we are seeing plenty of scientific break throughs in brain injury recovery which are offering better future for those who have sustained such injuries. In this article, we’re going to explore some of the most exciting recent discoveries in brain injury recovery.
1. Sleep Contributes to Healing
As we sleep, the brain recharges and eliminates toxic waste that’s built up during the day, there’s much evidence to show that sleeping supports the brain to function properly. According to research from Oregon Health & Science University, sleep can contribute to healing a traumatic brain injury. Throughout the study scientists used MRI to assess the perivascular spaces around our blood vessels, associating enlarged spaces with dementia and aging.
The research used veterans as the subjects and found that those who lacked sleep were more likely to have larger perivascular spaces in their brains. The results indicate that patients with brain injuries could cover faster if healthcare providers attempted to improve their sleep patterns. For instance, by administering medication to those who are struggling to sleep.
2. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosis
In recent years, there have been scientific break throughs in the mild TBI diagnosis process. Studies have shown that specific plasma microRNAs, found in animal models, could be helpful biomarkers for the successful diagnosis of mild TBI.
These findings are incredibly promising because mild traumatic brain injuries are notoriously hard to diagnose when using traditional imaging techniques. For a lot of patients, structural damage will not show up on computer tomography, even if this damage is there.
3. Using the Immune System to Protect the Brain
Scientists from the Babraham Institute’s Immunology research programme have created a type of therapeutic treatment that can reduce brain inflammation. The approach has been shown to improve the outcomes after stroke, or brain injury.
The method focuses on using the power of the immune system to protect the brain. It works by increasing the presence of T cells, a helpful way to prevent the death of brain tissue.
As Professor Liston explains, ‘Our bodies have their own anti-inflammatory response, regulatory T cells, which have the ability to sense inflammation and produce a cocktail of natural anti-inflammatories. Unfortunately, there are very few of these regulatory T cells in the brain, so they are overwhelmed by the inflammation following an injury. We sought to design a new therapeutic to boost the population of regulatory T cells in the brain.’
4. Memory Enhancing Drugs
Laboratory studies have shown that the drug, ISRIB, can restore memory after a traumatic brain injury. With research also indicating that the drug can improve cognitive impairments for people with Down Syndrome and reverse aged-related memory decline.
The studies surrounding ISRIB demonstrate that cognitive losses, in certain circumstances may be reversible as opposed to permanent. It is believed that the molecule plays a key role in how our brains deal with the stress of both neurological diseases and physical injuries.
5. Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator
Research published by the Centre for Neurology Studies at Health Tech Connex used a device called a Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator to support a solider who was recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
The PONs is a type of neurostimulation technology which works by sending electrical impulses to the brain, using the tongue. Throughout the study the team used the technology to encourage neuroplasticity, and recognised a significant improvement in the soldiers’ vital signs.
At present, one of the key methods for treating the symptoms of brain injury is physical therapy, however, this approach does have its limits. Recent data has shown that methods such as translingual neural stimulation can be used to support a physical therapy programme. A TLNS treatment program can be provided using a Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator, helping patients to improve their gait and balance.
Breakthroughs in Brain Injury Recovery
As you can see, the world of science offers many new options and possibilities to treat those who are suffering from brain injuries. We hope that as time goes on, these options will keep on growing, supporting us to far improve the lives of those effected.
If you or your loved one has experienced a brain injury, working with a brain injury lawyer could help you to make a compensation claim, supporting you to cover rehabilitation costs and medical bills to receive the care that you need.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.