A New Approach To Assessing and Treating Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Doctor and Patient

Traditional assessment of mild traumatic brain injury (CT scan and neuropsychological assessment) can often fail to accurately assess the injury. Past research has shown that deficits can be more accurately detected by using functional imaging, as well as electrical, magnetic, and metabolic tests. Unfortunately, these assessments do not currently have general guidelines or parameters for brain injury assessment. As a result, these functional tests are often not used in clinical practice, and are refuted as accurate evidence in the courtroom.

To address this problem, the International Brain Research Foundation (IBRF) has developed a non-invasive, multimodal brain-mapping matrix in hopes of guiding not only accurate assessment, but also treatment. The matrix includes the following technologies: electroencephalography (EEG), quantitative EEG (qEEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG) with standardized, low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA), evoked potentials (EP) and event-related potentials (ERP), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and MRI spectroscopy, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), and positron emission tomography (PET).

The goal of the IBRF is to assess and develop general guidelines for the tools in their matrix. The outcome could be that more reliable tools will soon be put into practice in the assessment and treatment of mild traumatic brain injury.

Polito MZ, Thompson JWG, & DeFina PA. A review of the International Brain Research Foundation novel approach to mild traumatic brain injury presented at the International Conference on Behavioral Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. (September 2010).