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A briefing on brain injuries

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Diffusion tensor imaging, a special form of MRI, allows researchers to look at fiber tracks (long nerves that connect the brain side to side and front to back) and is beginning to serve as a diagnostic tool for traumatic brain injury. (Photo: Liebertonline.com/ Jordan Grafman)

Soldiers, athletes, children, seniors, trauma victims -- brain injuries affect all walks of life. They also affect the economy, costing the country more than $56 billion a year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Brain injuries were the subject of a public luncheon held on Capitol Hill on October 6 titled "Traumatic Brain Injury\ also known as TBI. 

The luncheon hosted by AAAS through the support of the Dana Foundation, was attended by policy makers, their staff, and various non-profit and lobbying groups who advise our nation's leaders.

Speakers addressed what happens to the brain when it is injured and how clinicians work with TBI patients, as well as future directions of research.

Watch the presentations below.

Featured speakers:

  • Watch Ann McKee, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Pathology, Director of Neuropathology Core, Alzheimer's Disease Center, Boston University: In this video McKee addresses the long-term consequences of repetitive head injury from contact sports and military service. "It is becoming more and more apparent that if you have repetitive mild traumatic brain injury, repeated injury without allowing the brain to recover between the injuries, that can trigger a progressive neurodegenerative deterioration. It can result in behavioral and personality changes, memory loss and dementia, that can become worse and worse as the person ages," said McKee.
  • Watch Jordan Grafman, Ph.D., Director,  Traumatic Brain Injury Research Laboratory, Kessler Foundation: In this video Grafman discusses his work with Vietnam veterans who suffered head injuries. Veterans are unique in that they all have an induction intelligence test and other standardized evaluations throughout the course of their service which serves as a good baseline evaluation, said Grafman.

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Diffusion tensor imaging, a special form of MRI, allows researchers to look at fiber tracks (long nerves that connect the brain side to side and front to back) and is beginning to serve as a diagnostic tool for traumatic brain injury. (Photo: Liebertonline.com/ Jordan Grafman)
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