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Brain Damage Leads to Brain Tissue Loss

In a study of mild to severe traumatic brain damage, reported in the March 4 issue of Neurology, brain tissue loss was found in all degrees of brain injury. (NEUROLOGY 2008;70:771-778)

The analysis, using high-resolution MRI, found a loss of brain volume encompassing both frontal and posterior brain regions.

Notably, even patients with a mild injury had changes that could be reliably distinguished from the noninjured controls. The most reliable effects were in the frontal, temporal, and cingulated regions, although there were effects to varying degrees in nearly every brain region.

The patterns of diffuse tissue loss even in the absence of focal injury helped explain the well-known substantial handicap that patients have in the wake with a traumatic brain injury, particularly with concentration, working memory, organizing, planning, and mood changes, the researchers said.

The patients, spanning the full range of severity, received high-resolution structural MRI a minimum of one year after the injury. The loss of brain volume was substantiated even in the absense of other radiological evidence of brain injury.

You can order the full study from the Neurology journal by clicking here.

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