TBI recovery may take two separate tracks, study suggests

When you suffer any kind of injury, your body may be affected by that injury long after you stop experiencing symptoms outwardly. In the case of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), a recent study suggests that the brain may be riddled with abnormalities for months after symptoms have abated. This prognosis holds true even in cases of concussions and other mild brain injuries.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and was recently published in the medical journal Neurology. Its findings are particularly significant given that it helps to confirm that the brain is affected by TBI after symptoms subside. It is also significant in that it suggests that the brain heals in two possibly distinct ways.

The study’s author recently explained that, “These results suggest that there are potentially two different modes of recovery for concussion, with the memory, thinking and behavioral symptoms improving more quickly than the physiological injuries in the brain.” When these kinds of conclusions are drawn, they often inspire other brain researchers to more carefully study the phenomena involved. Those studies can then help to inspire improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of TBI.

The study’s author has already made one prediction that may both help inspire further research and may influence the ways in which individuals recovering from TBI approach their lives in the months after symptoms have subsided. He noted that, “During recovery, reported symptoms like pain are greatly reduced before the body is finished healing, when the tissue scabs. These findings may have important implications about when it is truly safe to resume physical activities that could produce a second concussion, potentially further injuring an already vulnerable brain.”

Source: Forbes.com, “After Symptoms Subside, Brain Injury Still Evident After Concussions,” Robert Glatter, MD, Dec. 1, 2013