The truth of the matter is that many of the millions of people who are living with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in our nation never recover from their injuries, despite scientists and researchers looking for TBI treatments. However, once and a while promising news comes along for Georgia TBI victims. Recently, scientists made a discovery that could help those living with a traumatic brain injury.

Scientists at Toronto Rehab discovered in their studies that it is possible to counter shrinkage in the brain for those with chronic moderate–severe traumatic brain injury. By participating in environmental enrichment—increased physical, social and cognitive stimulation—TBI patients may be able to offset further brain damage.

The study, entitled “Environmental enrichment may protect against hippocampal atrophy in the chronic stages of traumatic brain injury,” was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. This study was built on Dr. Robin Green’s findings that moderate–severe TBI may be a progressive neurological disorder. While others believe that neurological damage occurs at the time of injury and brain trauma plateaus over a period of time, Dr. Green has observed through MRI testing that many TBI patients have ongoing atrophy (shrinkage) in the brain.

This study’s findings indicate that damaged areas of the brain affect healthy cells. “What we believe is going on, is that after a serious brain injury, damaged tissue disconnects with the healthy areas of the brain. Those healthy areas are under stimulated and, over time, deteriorate,” said Dr. Green.

In order to counteract the deterioration of the brain, Dr. Green and her colleagues focused their efforts on finding treatments. After discovering that a positive reaction to environmental enrichment occurred in TBI patients, 30 patients with moderate-severe TBI were studied. The findings revealed that less shrinkage of the hippocampus (associated with memory functioning) occurred after five months from the date of their injury when patients participated in more reading, physical activity, socializing, solving exercises and puzzles.

Because Georgia TBI victims typically can no longer work, go to school, or do things they once did before their injury, they are often not participating in environmental enrichment—which can likely increase atrophy. This study recommends that environmental enrichment be a part of long-term rehabilitation to improve a TBI patients’ recovery.

The Law Offices of Shane Smith will continue to update our readers on the advancements being made related to traumatic brain injury. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in Georgia due to another’s negligence, contact an experienced Peachtree City brain injury lawyer today at 770.487.8999 to find out how we can help you in a complimentary consultation.

Shane Smith
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Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia

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