A powerful new imaging technique called High Definition Fiber Tracking (HDFT) will allow doctors to clearly see for the first time neural connections broken by traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other neurological disorders, much like X-rays show a fractured bone, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in a report published online today in the Journal of Neurosurgery.
In the report, the researchers describe the case of a 32-year-old man who wasn’t wearing a helmet when his all-terrain vehicle crashed. Initially, his CT scans showed bleeding and swelling on the right side of the brain, which controls left-sided body movement. A week later, while the man was still in a coma, a conventional MRI scan showed brain bruising and swelling in the same area. When he awoke three weeks later, the man couldn’t move his left leg, arm and hand.