Individuals who have suffered some sort of head injury are common visitors to emergency rooms in West Virginia, but the medical profession has yet to develop a standardized method of evaluating the severity of this type of injury. Figures from the Centers for Disease Control reveal that more than 2 million people with a traumatic brain injury are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year, and researchers from the University of Minnesota and a Minneapolis medical center plan to study thousands of patients in order to better understand how these injuries should be assessed and treated.
The researchers say that they will study how head injuries ranging in severity from mild concussions to severe traumas impact children, adults and the elderly. Treatment options will be evaluated by tracking patients for up to a year, and the project is one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken in the area of TBI evaluation and treatment.
An accurate initial diagnosis is crucial if head injuries are to be treated appropriately and if brain damage is to be minimized. Thus, the researchers say that particular attention must be paid to the effectiveness of eye tracking to diagnose brain injuries compared to traditional imaging protocols such as MRIs or CT scans. Eye tracking uses powerful cameras to follow pupillary movement while subjects watch short videos. Brain injuries have been linked to slower eye movements, and the researchers feel that serious injuries could lead to more pronounced slowing.
Patients who suffer serious brain injuries often face a long and arduous process of treatment and physical therapy with no guarantee of a successful outcome. When their injuries are caused by the reckless behavior of another person, personal injury attorneys may be able to initiate lawsuits to seek compensation for the costs of their long-term medical treatment and any income they lost while they were unable to work and earn a paycheck.