They used a special MRI technique to look at the brains of patients with mild traumatic brain injury. Diffusion tensor imaging or DTI measures the movement of water molecules in nerve fibers in the brain's white matter.
Michael Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., led the study. He's the associate director of the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and medical director of MRI at the Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y. He says, "that white matter is the essential wiring that connects parts of the brain and is what is commonly injured in traumatic brain injury."
According to Dr. Lipton, low levels of water movement in the brain are associated with impaired mental abilities in patients with brain injury. He says the new study suggests that high levels of movement show that the brain is compensating for the injury.
He hopes the findings lead to new treatments that enhance the brain's ability to compensate after a traumatic in