Breakthrough may help treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury

After evaluating more than 20,000 brain scans, researchers say they can now distinguish Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a breakthrough that would significantly improve the way both conditions are treated.

HeadInjuriesThe findings were published last week in PLOS One, the seventh most cited medical journal in the world, according to a news release. The study, believed to be the largest functional neuroimaging study ever conducted, involved researchers using a single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to obtain biological differences between TBI and PTSD. Both conditions have similar symptoms — anxiety, depression, irritability — but treatments are different. Distinguishing one from the other will help clinicians respond appropriately.

“This discovery is breakthrough information for anyone diagnosed with either TBI or PTSD or both,” said Theodore Henderson, MD, PhD, a co-author of the study. “Now that we can tell the difference between TBI and PTSD, clinicians can apply more targeted and appropriate treatments, and achieve advances with their patients.

“This study contained a subset of closely matched patients and a larger dataset of ‘real world’ patients with multiple psychiatric or neurological conditions. The accuracy of the closely matched study was 100 percent which replicates our research on Veterans with TBI or PTSD (wherein the accuracy was 94 percent). It clearly delineates the potential of SPECT as a biomarker in differentiating TBI from PTSD — a critical issue for anyone suffering from symptoms with no answers.”

This development would help the treatment of athletes who suffer from TBI, especially those who built their careers in contact sports. Henderson said he hopes to reach out to all active and retired football players suffering from either TBI or PTSD.

More information can be found here.

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