High Definition Fiber Tracking (HDFT) is a new scanning technique used to capture images of neural connections in the brain. Using HDFT, clinicians can determine the exact location and proportion of damaged neural connections after a brain injury. This can help them determine injury severity and outcome with much more certainty that traditional scans such as CT or MRI.
Having access to the fine details of a brain injury can be used to help explain specific symptoms. Currently, HDFT has been able to correlate a lesion within a neural connection with a specific weakness in a patient's left hand. Researchers hope to someday use HDFT to correlate specific brain areas with other common brain injury symptoms such as memory problems or personality changes. Having this fine-tuned scanning ability will not only help clinicians plan a rehabilitation program, it can also give the patient and the family a more concrete reason for the patient's difficulties.
Shin SS, Verstynen T, Pathak S, et al. High-definition fiber tracking for assessment of neurological deficit in a case of traumatic brain injury: Finding, visualizing, and interpreting small sites of damage. Journal of Neurosurgery. (May 2012).