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Brain injury diagnostic testing might benefit from research

Brain injuries can be caused by a variety of accidents, but the fact that brain cells are destroyed is a tie that binds all those accidents together. One of the ways that brain injuries occurs is through traumatic means. Blows to the head, explosions and similar events can lead to brain injuries.

A team at Brown University is considering how sound waves and sonic booms might play a part in brain injuries. This information isn't likely to help people who suffer brain injury because of a lack of oxygen, such as what can occur during an attempted suffocation or near drowning. It could possibly help people who are in car accidents or who suffer brain injuries while playing contact sports.

It is widely known that impacts to the head can lead to nerve cell death. The team at Brown University studied how brain injuries might be affected by intense pressure waves bombarding the brain. While they were able to control certain aspects of their experiment, they found that other aspects weren't so easy to control.

The team was relying on created pressure waves in a laboratory setting. That was the easy part; however, controlling the intensity was a challenge. The team ended up simulating events with a laser and using bubbles to simulate brain tissue. What the team found was that it is possible that cavitation, or bubbles forming inside of fluid, and microcavitation, or tiny bubbles forming inside of fluid, might have a part in the effects of a brain injury.

The team's finding could provide more information for medical professionals to use when attempting to find diagnostic techniques for concussions and other TBIs. For now, the current methods will have to suffice. Those methods often require considerable testing and medical care, so patients can rack up a hefty medical bill. Some patients might opt to seek compensation to help cover that cost.

Source: Student Sciene, "Bubbles may underlie trauma's brain injury," Sid Perkins, Dec. 13, 2015

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