Eight-session gist-reasoning training advances higher-order thinking and other key frontal lobe functions in chronic recovery stages

Traumatic brain injuries from sports, recreational activities, falls or car accidents are the leading cause of death and disability in children and adolescents. While previously it was believed that the window for brain recovery was at most one year after injury, new research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas shows cognitive performance can be improved to significant degrees months, and even years, after injury, given targeted brain training. "The after-effects of concussions and more severe brain injuries can be very different and more detrimental to a developing child or adolescent brain than an adult brain," said Dr. Lori Cook, study author and director of the Center for BrainHealth's pediatric brain injury programs. "While the brain undergoes spontaneous recovery in the immediate days, weeks, and months following a brain injury, cognitive deficits may continue to evolve months to years after the initial brain insult when the brain is called upon to perform higher-order reasoning and critical thinking tasks."

A study of concussion patients using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) found that males took longer to recover after concussion than females did. Results of the study, which show that DTI can be used as a bias-free way to predict concussion outcome, are published online in the journal Radiology.

Each year, more than 17 million Americans suffer a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), more commonly known as a concussion, of which approximately 15 percent suffer persistent symptoms beyond three months.

Assessing outcomes and recovery time after concussion can be very subjective. Typically, physicians must rely on patient cooperation to assess injury severity.

Study also suggests potential treatment

This is a preliminary study but we want to go into more of the details about why working memory and processing speed are associated with social functioning and how specific brain structures might be related to improve outcome.

Traumatic brain injury is a risk factor for epilepsy, though the relationship is not understood.

A new study in mice identifies increased levels of a specific neurotransmitter as a contributing factor connecting traumatic brain injury (TBI) to post-traumatic epilepsy. The findings suggest that damage to brain cells called interneurons disrupts neurotransmitter levels and plays a role in the development of epilepsy after a traumatic brain injury.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers is using mathematical modeling to better understand the mechanisms at play in this kind of injury, with an eye toward protecting the brain from its long-term consequences.

Their recent findings shed new light on the mechanical properties of a critical brain protein and its role in the elasticity of axons, the long, tendril-like part of brain cells. This protein, known as tau, helps explain the apparent contradiction this elasticity presents. If axons are so stretchy, why do they break under the strain of a traumatic brain injury?