Clinical Research on Mild TBI
The findings from numerous studies on mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) conducted by Dr. Ghajar and his colleagues, here in New York and across the country, have suggested that the shearing of connections in the frontal area of the brain are the cause of the attention and memory deficits that often result from mTBI. These studies have also shown highly suggestive correlations between deficits in attention and abnormalities in smooth pursuit eye-movement (the ability to track an object that is following a consistent and predictable path) in individuals with damage to these frontal connections.
As a result of these findings, Dr. Ghajar has been able to develop a metric to assess whether someone who has experienced a head injury has resulting attention deficits based purely on tracking an individual’s eye movements. Eye tracking assessments of mTBI-related attention deficits can be done quickly (in under one minute) and are highly accurate. Traditional assessment methods can take hours and often require advanced imaging like MRI scans.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging
The standardized CAT and MRI brain scans may appear to be normal in concussion patients, but these techniques do not pick up tears in the white matter.
White matter links areas of gray matter to produce thinking functions of the brain, such as attention and memory. If the white matter is damaged by a concussion, the connections get disrupted and attention and memory are affected. Scientists who are part of the BTF research consortium have shown white matter damage which correlates with attention and memory problems.
A new technology called DTI, or diffusion tensor imaging, uses advanced software to get more detailed information from an MRI and allows us to obtain images of the white matter.