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Press Releases

October 11, 2013

TBI Research News Out of Canada Discusses Ideas for Improving Post TBI Brain Development
 
For the first time, scientists at Toronto Rehab have found that in people with chronic moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), atrophy (shrinkage) in the brain may be countered by participating in environmental enrichment – increased physical, social and cognitive stimulation. 
 

The paper, "Environmental enrichment may protect against hippocampal atrophy in the chronic stages of traumatic brain injury," in the September publication of the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, showcases a research study that builds on recent findings suggesting that moderate-severe TBI may be a progressive neurological disorder – a whole new way of perceiving the condition. Only a handful of labs in the word are investigating this topic.

The principal investigator of this study is Robin Green, senior scientist and clinical neuropsychologist, Toronto Rehab, UHN and Canada Research Chair in Traumatic Brain Injury. "The conventional wisdom about moderate-serious TBI is that there is neurological damage to the brain that manifests over the course of hours and days. Then, after a period of recovery – months to years – a plateau is reached where there are no further changes to the brain," says Green. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Green and colleagues observed ongoing damage or atrophy in the brains of many people with moderate-severe TBI.

In the study, they found that all 30 patients with moderate-severe TBI showed a positive reaction to environmental enrichment. Those patients who reported greater amounts of environmental enrichment – for example, reading, problem solving exercises, puzzles, physical activity, socializing – at 5 months after their injury showed less shrinkage of the hippocampus (associated with memory functioning) from 5 to 28 months post-injury. "Our focus now is how to incorporate environmental enrichment into long-term rehabilitation. We are exploring the key ingredients to environmental enrichment for off-setting atrophy, and also the benefits of combining environmental enrichment with other therapies," explained Green.

Neither Dr. Green nor her study will be part of the agenda at the 4th Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference. The research discussed in this post is for discussion purposes only. However, cognitive measures of TBI as well as Neurodegenerative diseases and implications for TBI therapy development will be explored at the event. The conference will focus on advancing the understanding of brain injury, learning about the latest diagnostics and therapies on the horizon & discuss the challenges still facing the scientific community.

For the complete article, visit: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/09/increased-stimulation-tbi-patients-may-counter-brian-shrinkage. For more information on the 4th Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference please visit: www.tbiconference.com

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