Recovery from a serious brain injury can be a long and arduous journey.
However, new hope for treatment comes from an innovative technique that researchers at the University of Indiana School of Medicine recently developed.
There are two types of traumatic brain injury or TBI: open and closed. In the open form, a foreign object penetrates the skull and lodges in the brain. The far more common closed type of TBI results from a blow to the head. For example, the impact of a rear-end collision might cause a victim to strike his head on the steering wheel, causing a concussion or even more serious brain injury. Brain cells try to repair themselves, but the severe damage to some erases certain blocks of information. The victim of a car crash diagnosed with TBI may need rehabilitation to relearn how to accomplish even basic functions such as eating, dressing or standing up from a prone position.
Research pays off
In collaboration with a team from the University of Miami, University of Indiana researchers found that initial brain damage results from a loss of brain tissue. Since the nervous system must compensate for this problem by working harder, the team developed a technique that uses magnetoelectric nanoparticles to stimulate neural activity. The noninvasive procedure can deliver the nanoparticles to a specific part of the brain as needed.
A look ahead
The researchers have been at work on the new technique for five years and have published their findings in Neurotherapeutics. Studies will now proceed to the next level using human participation for the noninvasive technique. The new method aids deep brain stimulation and seeks to limit the damage to nerves and brain cells in cases of TBI.