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- March 4, 2012
- by Randy Rozek
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In a breakthrough study published in the latest edition of the Journal of Neurotrauma, researches at the University of Pittsburgh have revealed detailed images of a revolutionary new brain imaging technique referred to as High Definition Fiber Tracking (HDFT). HDFT can show damage to small areas of the brain that would not be visible on a typical CT scan or MRI. Similar to Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), HDFT shows the white matter fiber tracts, which are essentially bundles of brain cells called axons. For example, if the brain were made up of telephone wires, the fiber tracts would be a bundle of telephone wires.
The difference between images shown on the newest DTI scans vs. the images shown by HDFT in the new study are striking. DTI collects data points from 51 directions, while HDFT collects data points from 257 directions. Essentially, HDFT is 5 times more detailed than DTI, which is very exciting considering that DTI detected some type of abnormality in nearly all of my TBI clients.
HDFT holds the potential to legitimatize the complaints of TBI survivors that are typically ignored by emergency personnel and general practitioners. The new imaging technique may also put an end to the ridiculous and dangerous position taken by the neurologists and neuropsychologists working for the insurance industry that claim mild traumatic brain injuries cannot result on permanent ongoing problems. No longer will TBI survivors be neglected because they suffer from invisible injuries.
The study was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Other medical centers and military hospitals will begin implementing studies regarding HDFT in the next six months and the Pitt researchers are optimistic that HDFC could become a routine imaging technique for TBI patients within the next 5 to 10 years.