Can deep brain stimulation help brain injury patients?

The director of the Neurological Institute at Ohio State University has recently completed a study of four patients who all suffered severe brain injuries in car crashes in the last six to 21 years. The study investigated how deep brain stimulation affected severe brain damage.

Deep brain stimulation is a technique used to send electrical impulses to specific areas of the brain. It’s possible, the new study suggests, that a person with a traumatic brain injury could gain more independence with DBS. The director said that there are more than 80,000 people who suffer disability due to TBIs each year, and there are not many options that can currently help them.

After two years of DBS treatment, the director noted that there were improvements in many areas, such as in functional outcomes, behavioral and emotional regulation, independence, self-control and improvements in disability.

There are three parts to the DBS system: the electrode, the extension and the pulse generator. The lead is placed in the brain where stimulation is needed. The extension is put under the skin from the lead to the pulse generator, which is under the skin in the area of the collarbone. After two years of treatment, the director reported that three of the four patients showed improvement.

A professor of neuroscience and neurology at Houston Methodist Hospital stated, “Although this is a small study, we are cautiously optimistic in that scientists reported some encouraging results in helping traumatic brain injury patients with their behavioral and their emotional difficulties.” The professor also added that larger studies are needed to refine the treatment and confirm the findings.

Treatment for brain injuries is extraordinarily expensive. If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury due to another’s negligence or recklessness, you may want to consider pursuing compensation. An experienced attorney can provide more information on your legal options.

Source: HealthDay, “Can Brain ‘Pacemaker’ Improve Lives of Head Trauma Patients?,” Don Rauf, Sep. 22, 2016

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