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Brain network science might offer insights into injuries

West Virginians who suffer from brain injuries may be interested in learning about research published in PLOS Computational Biology. According to the study, modeling the networks of connections that characterize brain tissue may help medical researchers gain a better understanding of why different kinds of brain damage impact victims in distinct ways.

The researchers used MRIs and a field of mathematics known as graph theory to describe the different kinds of patterns they observed in the brain's white matter. Although medical scientists traditionally believed that the individual parts of the brain performed separate tasks, modern data seems to suggest that they work together as a more complex network of linked groups.

The study discovered that it was possible to identify the same networks and component groups in subjects who hadn't sustained injuries. In people who had suffered brain damage however, scientists found that injured tissues near the centers of pathways that normally transmitted information could have greater impacts on the groups. The authors believe that their work may contribute to improved care by helping doctors anticipate how structural changes inside the brain relate to the outward symptoms of various injury-related diseases.

The human brain is a complex organ that scientists are only just beginning to understand. Although researchers are continually making advancements, it takes time between such discoveries and their application in new treatment methods. In the meantime, individuals who suffer from brain injuries have to find ways to deal with the symptoms, which can be unpredictable and costly. When the injury has been caused by another party, such as a negligent driver in a collision, an attorney could help the victim seek appropriate compensation.

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