Brain Injury Study Challenges Preconceived Notions About Recovery

Brain injury recovery study shows that cognitive performance can improve with strategy-based training well beyond the year after the TBI is sustained

A recent traumatic brain injury recovery study published in the Neuropsychological Rehabilitation journal will hopefully clear up some misconceptions about recovering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The study was conducted by the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. TBIs are among the most common injuries sustained in the United States, with over 5 million individuals currently living with one. These types of brain injuries are not just sustained in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, or semi-truck crashes; they are also sustained on the football or soccer field, through slip and falls, or, in the case of our active duty service members, while serving and protecting our country abroad (more than 327,000 service men and women have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury since 2000, according to the Department of Defense).

The brain injury study showed that “strategy-based cognitive training significantly improves the cognitive performance, psychological and neural health of those who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, long after the initial injury.” Stated another way, contrary to the belief held by some in the medical community and those in the insurance industry who seek ways to deny much needed therapy to patients who have sustained traumatic brain injury, there is no set period of time after which TBI occurs that the maximum medical recovery has taken place. With the proper therapy and rehabilitation, brain injury survivors can continue to make strides well beyond the year after suffering the injury.

Researchers tested the following hypothesis: “a strategy-based cognitive training regimen focusing on higher-level thinking skills would be a more effective way to repair the brain after injury than a training that taught important facts about the brain and how it operates.”

Participants who went through the strategy-based training saw remarkable improvement in their memory as well as their capability for abstract thinking. Specifically:

They reported at 60% reduction in depressive symptoms as well as an almost 40% reduction in symptoms related to post traumatic stress disorder. Blood flow to the frontal lobe region of the brain – the area responsible for memory, attention, decision-making and problem-solving – also increased significantly following the strategy-based training. And participants continued to realize cognitive, psychological and brain blood flow benefits three to four months after training, suggesting their health continued to improve even after the training ended.

Quite simply, all of this means that traumatic brain injury survivors who are slowly but surely making their way on their path to recovery should not be discouraged or disheartened. Gaining functionality will take time, hard work, and dedication. It may take a number of years of continual therapy. With this in mind, insurance companies should not be so quick to pull the plug on brain injury therapy, as doing so may do much more harm than good.

As Michigan brain injury attorneys, we have represented clients who have suffered TBI in a myriad of ways and have successfully fought against no-fault insurance providers and other entities that have wanted to cut off benefits that would have allowed Michiganders to continue their brain injury recovery. In addition to this legal advocacy, our lawyers are also extensively involved in educating brain injury survivors and their medical providers about their rights under the law. We are excited about latest development in the treatment of brain injuries and look forward to hearing about more encouraging studies in the future.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss a potential brain injury legal claim, please contact our law office – we would be happy to speak with you.

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