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Guest Blog From Florida Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney Matt Dolman

We’ve got juicy education for you today courtesy of Florida traumatic brain injury attorney Matt Dolman of Dolman Law Group, with offices in Clearwater, Bradenton and Melbourne.

A Clearwater auto accident lawyer, Dolman dives into some need-to-know about the latest technology available in studying brain injuries

Diagnostic Studies for Traumatic Brain Injury

Diagnostic tests are vital tools that enable physicians to correlate pathology with the patient’s clinical presentation. Perhaps the most significant change in diagnostic imaging over the past twenty years are improvements in spatial resolution (size, intensity, and clarity) of anatomical images and reductions in the time needed to send signals to and receive data from the area being imaged.  These advances allow physicians to simultaneously see the structure of the brain and the changes in brain activity as they occur.  Scientists continue to improve methods that will provide sharper anatomical images and more detailed functional information.

As a Clearwater personal injury attorney, I am often retained to represent individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury or closed head injury. A traumatic brain injury can simply be defined as an injury to the brain as a result if trauma.

Many traumatic brain injuries are easy to correlate to the clinical presentation. For instance, a fractured skull, edema, brain bleed, or if an individual is relegated to a coma due to an impact to the skull, we can be sure they have suffered a traumatic brain injury. However, in many situations an individual will suffer what is deemed a “mild” or “moderate” brain injury (as if a “brain injury” could be considered anything but serious) as a result of an auto accident.  Such injuries are relatively difficult to identify and involve subtle issues associated with emotions, short and long term memory, thinking, and concentration among a myriad of symptoms. Clearly, the more factors an individual manifests with, the greater the possibility that the patient clinically presents with such an injury that must be correlated with a diagnostic study of the brain.

Types of Diagnostic Studies for a Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Functional MRI (FMRI)-

This is a relatively new procedure that uses MR imaging to measure the tiny metabolic changed that take place in an active part of the brain. It works by detecting the changes in blood oxygenation and flow that occur in response to neural activity – when a brain area is more active it consumes more oxygen and to meet this increased demand blood flow increases to the active area. FMRI can be used to produce maps of the brain illustrating which parts are involved in a particular mental process.

1.       It is non-invasive and doesn’t involve radiation, making it safe for the patient

2.       It has strong spatial and temporal resolution.

3.       It is easy for the experimenter to use. 

  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)-

A PET scan is a radiological test used to evaluate the inner-structure of the brain and how it uptakes blood flow A PET scan is often utilized along with a CT scan.

Whereas CT scans and MRI look at the body’s anatomy (bones, organs and other tissues,) PET scans look at how the body functions (how these organs and tissues are working.) With a PET scan, a small amount of radioactive sugar is injected into the bloodstream. Growing cells use sugar and a Radiologist will study how such cells take up the sugar and this can readily be seen on 3-dimensional imaging.

Single-photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)-

A SPECT scan, short for Single-photon Emission Computerized Tomography, allows your doctor to examine the functioning of internal organs of your body. It is a special type of nuclear imaging test that utilizes radioactive material and a specialized camera to generate images of your organs.

In comparison to x-rays that display the internal structures of your body in two-dimensional (2-D) image format, a SPECT scan generates 3-D images that display the actual working of the organs. For example, a SPECT scan can display the movement of blood to your heart or areas inside your brain that may be more or less active.

  • MRI with DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging)-

MRI with DTI allows the mapping of the diffusion process of molecules, mainly water, in biological tissues, in vivo and non-invasively.  Water molecules are thus used as a probe that can reveal microscopic details about tissue architecture, either normal or in a diseased state.

During the last 25 years, diffusion MRI has been extraordinarily successful. Its main clinical domain of application has been neurological disorders, especially for the management of patients with acute stroke. However, DTI has recently been utilized to diagnose traumatic brain injury.

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can reveal abnormalities in white matter fiber structure and provide outstanding maps of brain connectivity. The ability to visualize anatomical connections between different parts of the brain, non-invasively and on an individual basis, has emerged as a major breakthrough for neurosciences

MRI with SWI (Susceptibility Weighted Imaging)

SWI uses a fully flow compensated, long echo, gradient echo (GRE) scan to acquire images. This method exploits the susceptibility differences between tissues and uses the phase image to detect these differences. The magnitude and phase data are combined to produce an enhanced contrast magnitude image which is exquisitely sensitive to venous blood, hemorrhage and iron storage. The imaging of venous blood with SWI is a blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) technique which is why it was (and is sometimes still) referred to as BOLD venography. Due to its sensitivity to venous blood SWI is commonly used in traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and for high resolution brain venographies but has many other clinical applications.

A traumatic brain injury can have a pronounced effect on your quality of life including the ability to interact with loved ones and friends along with vocational skills. Please contact a Florida traumatic brain injury lawyer for a free, no obligation, and confidential evaluation of your case. As a Clearwater personal injury attorney, I consistently deal with insurance adjusters, Florida insurance defense lawyers and even physicians who are unfamiliar with the mechanisms behind a TBI and the relationship between a closed head injury and whiplash.  Many practitioners are mistakenly under the assumption that the head must strike an object to have a legitimate closed head injury.  It is essential to retain an attorney who is not only familiar with TBI’s but also the latest science in this rapidly evolving area of both medicine and the law.

Dolman Law Group is a Pinellas County and Manatee County personal injury law firm that routinely handles claims and litigates cases involving closed head injuries as a result of an automobile accident.  We actively litigate auto accident and motorcycle accident related cases in Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Sarasota County, Manatee County and Pasco County. Located in central Pinellas County (Clearwater), Dolman Law Group is easily accessible to injury victims in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, New Port Richey, Pinellas Park, Largo and Kenneth City.   Our satellite office in Bradenton is easily accessible to all consumers located in both Manatee and Sarasota County.

For more information on the relationship between a brain injury and an auto accident or motorcycle accident, please contact: Matt@dolmanlaw.com or call Dolman Law Group at: (727) 451-6900.

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