Brain scans may be able to detect two distinct kinds of brain injury in patients who have suffered a mild head injury or concussion, say researchers from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Differentiating between the two may help doctors better treat patients.
Neurologist Gunjan Parikh and his colleagues found some concussion patients had streak-like or linear injuries that they hypothesize are a type of blood vessel injury related to injuries seen in brains after severe head trauma. These linear injuries, which were typically seen in one particular region of the brain after mild traumatic injuries, were distinct from punctuate “microbleeds” that were found in many areas of the brain.
“We were able to get these MRI’s very early, on average [within] 17 hours,” says Parikh. But typically, many patients with mild traumatic brain injury will not get this kind of scan, he says. The results suggest MRI scans could be useful in finding patients who need additional treatment.