Our brains make us who we are -- our intellect and our nature as individuals. Yet the brain’s delicate neurons, vessels and precise metabolic processes are vulnerable to mechanical and chemical injury, and the effects of inflammatory disease and metabolic disorders occurring anywhere in the body.
These disruptions can lead to deteriorating brain function and changes that have the potential of robbing us of who we feel we are, how we relate to others, and how others relate to us.
Any impact to the skull or sudden twisting of the head can damage blood vessels and nerve fibers, trigger inflammation and swelling, release a toxic cascade of metabolic changes, and deplete the brain's nutrients and oxygen supply. Blood vessels can spasm, leak, tear, become too relaxed or too stiff, and become constricted or blocked. Neurons can be stretched, twisted and torn. And any immune, metabolic or inflammatory illness can disrupt circulation and neurological function in the brain.
Whether through mechanical injury or disease, once begun the damaging cascade of metabolic and inflammatory processes within the brain can proceed over extended periods of time and be difficult to reverse. In the worst case, the damage can be progressive and irreversible. When caught early, however, the manifestations of systemic inflammatory disease or mild concussion may treated and reversed.
The diagnosis and treatment of brain injury is complex and confounding. Generally only the most dramatic forms of damage can be observed with routine imaging technologies. Concussions and inflammatory damage are only recognized by their symptoms. The diagnostic conundrum is that the dozens of symptoms and diagnostic labels overlap and mimic each other to such an extent that even when well documented, they do not necessarily guide treatment.
Brain science is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of human research, and tremendous attention is currently being paid to the nature of brain damage seen in sports-related head injury and combat-related Traumatic Brain Injury/Post-Traumatic Stress (TBI/PTS). FSID is engaged in gathering and analyzing data from head-injured in active duty service members and veterans in order to identify promising diagnostic technologies and treatment protocols.
If you are interested in knowing more about our brain injury projects, please contact us.