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Progress made Toward Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury & its Treatment

by learningdiscoveries on March 3, 2015

Traumatic Brain Injury: How Does It Happen and What Are The Symptoms?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a cause of disability and death around the world. It happens when the brain is injured by an external impact.

The symptoms of TBI are separated into 3 categories – physical, sensory and cognitive/ mental problems. Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms of brain injury are loss of consciousness, state of confusion and disorientation, headaches, nausea and vomiting. Severe cases of brain injuries include convulsions, seizures, clear fluids seeping from nose or ears, loss of strength or feelings in extremities and comas.

A Study Toward Better Understanding of TBI
David Wassarman, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Biology of the University of Wisconsin conducted a study for a better understanding of the long-term consequences and potential cures of TBI in humans.

Wassarman and colleagues published a study in the Proceedings of National Academy of Science which mentioned that there are no recognised medical treatments or therapies specifically created for TBI, which the biggest cause of death of people under the age of 45 in America.

Based on the assumption that TBI can be defined as mechanical damage to the brain, Wassarman and the team used fruit flies in an experiment that included striking a vial full of flies with High Impact Trauma device (HIT) that mimics the colliding impact associated with brain trauma.

The High Impact Trauma device was designed by Biomedical Engineering Design undergraduate students at Wisconsin that the vial is struck at a consistent force. Wassarman observed that the flies were knocked unconscious and lay at the bottom of the vial for several minutes before they started to fly around again. Some of the flies died within 24 hours after being hit.

Genetics & Recovery From TBI
Wassarman concluded that genetic factors influence how different each fly responded to the exact same trauma. The team observed and studied the dead flies and has already been able to point out which genes play an important role in the variation of outcomes of TBI.

Wassarman and the team strongly believe that this study of fruit flies will improve our understanding of the outcomes of TBIs in humans as fruit flies and humans have similar neuron structure.

For more information about the Traumatic Brain Injury, please contact us via email or phone on (02) 9637 9998 during business hours.


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Rosemary Boon

Registered Psychologist

M.A. (Psych),
Grad. Dip. Ed. Studies (Sch. Counsel),
Grad Dip. Ed. B Sc, Dip. Nut.

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