A study conducted using research from the University of California Los Angeles made a breakthrough in diagnosing a specific type of brain injury, according to recent reports. Experts at the neuroscience and human behavior institute there were able to successfully diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in living patients for the first time. The results are limited to only give research subjects, but one of the co-authors described the finding as the "holy grail" of research in this area.
Brain injuries can happen in many different ways, including during a car or boat accident or as the result of repeated head trauma. CTE has been most commonly found in people who suffered from repeated head trauma, usually while on the job, such as professional athletes or those serving in the United States military. In addition, repeated trauma similar to the type found in CTE patients could occur during amateur or college contact sports play. One of the patients diagnosed in the study had a history of just three concussions, two of which were sustained during his time in the NFL and one which occurred during college football play.
The breakthrough in possible treatments is exciting news for those suffering from CTE as well as patients with more common brain injuries. The ability to diagnose the condition in living patients means that doctors can track the progress of the disease and can find out if it responds to treatment. Before, when diagnosis was limited to already deceased patients, there was little doctors could do to find out what therapies would help mitigate the effects or repair the damage.
For California residents who have suffered from a head trauma that resulted in a brain injury, this cutting edge research may one day provide more advanced treatment.
Source: USA Today, "Study gives hope for brain disease treatment" Gary Mihoces, Jan. 22, 2013
California residents who have suffered from a brain injury have the right to compensation if the injury was the result of someone else's negligent behavior. More information is available on our San Diego head trauma page.