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Hope for brain damaged patients may have arrived

For those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries in car accidents, there may be some good news. A technique shows promise in expanding activities of daily living for those who have suffered a loss of function after their injuries, reported Ohio State University's Neurological Institute's director.

This technique is known as deep brain stimulation. Electrical impulses are targeted to specific locations of the brain through a three-part system. Electrodes are the lead, and they are attached to the brain during surgery in the spots where the stimulation must occur.

The extension consists of a wire under the skin on the head, neck and shoulders that then connects with the pulse generator, which is also an implant under the collarbone.

There were four patients with severe damage from TBIs that happened in car wrecks from a span of six years to more than two decades prior.

All had significant impairment that required assistance and supervision with toileting, grooming and dressing. The systems were implanted by surgeons and the leads hooked up to stimulate damaged tissue with electrical impulses.

Three out of four of the TBI patients showed improved engagement and alertness, along with increased emotional controls and behaviors after two years of therapy. Three out of four also were participating in more outside activities and had significant improvement in their functional independence. Another two subjects required fewer assists with ADLs.

The study leader found there were no major adverse incidents or risks, with infection being the most likely side effect.

Obviously, a study of only four patients will need to be replicated with a larger patient sample. But for those chafing at the lack of independence after being severely brain damaged, it's a ray of hope in a dark tunnel.

If you or a loved one suffered a TBI in an auto accident, find out if you can pursue compensation against the at-fault driver responsible for your injuries.

Source: Health Day, "Can Brain 'Pacemaker' Improve Lives of Head Trauma Patients?," Don Rauf, accessed Nov. 04, 2016

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