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NOVA ScienceNOW

Diagnosing Brain Damage

  • By Rachel VanCott
  • Posted 07.01.08
  • NOVA scienceNOW

Various methods for gauging traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are now available or in development—from high-tech CT scans and Diffusion Tensor Imaging to relatively low-tech cognitive tests that measure attention, memory, and decision-making. Some new technologies—visors and helmets—even make it possible to diagnose damage directly on a playing field or battlefield.

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New techniques can assess concussions and other head injuries, some directly on the playing field.

Credits

Images

(injured player, football tackle)
© James Boulette/istockphoto.com;
(CT scan)
© Bojan Fatur/istockphoto;
(DTI scan)
© Zephyr/Photo Researchers, Inc.;
(ImPACT test)
Courtesy UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program;
(player using DETECT device)
Courtesy Georgia Institute of Technology;
(eye-tracking test)
© WGBH Educational Foundation

Related Links

  • Brain Trauma

    Even so-called "mild" head injuries can lead to serious concussions with long-term consequences.

  • Brain Trauma: Expert Q&A

    Neurosurgeon Jam Ghajar answers questions about preventing and treating concussions and more severe brain injuries.

  • How Memory Works

    Neurobiologists are honing in on how memories form, and then finding ways to erase them.

  • Mapping the Brain

    Use some of the same imaging techniques neuroscientists use—from MRIs to PET scans—to see inside the human brain.

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