Brain injured patients are not benefiting from the newest cognitive neuroscience therapies available, according to scientists in an issue of Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. Researchers at the University of Illinois suggest that physicians concentrate more closely on cognitive control processes. These processes enable the regulation and control of attention, memory and thought. Moreover, physicians hope for more treatment strategies that focus on these brain networks, because by 2020, the World Health Organization predicts traumatic brain injury will be the leading cause of neurological disability and a global public health epidemic.
Currently, medical personnel use a basic scale to assess the degree of brain injury. Called the Glasgow coma scale, it grades the brain injury as mild, moderate or severe, which results in one of just a few diagnoses:
- Coma – no response to sensory stimulation
- Delirium – impaired ability to sustain attention
- Amnesia – impaired memory
- Dysexecutive Syndrome – impaired ability to engage in goal-directed thought
It is now known that several, interactive brain networks determine the quality of thought and ability. Each engages in a cooperative effort to promote proper brain function. Researchers recommend therapies and treatment that should be guided by isolating which brain networks are affected in a brain-injured patient.
For instance, there are three core networks that support cognitive control processes, and their corresponding diagnosis if damaged:
- Salience Network – directs attention to events in the environment and enables coordinated behavior (damage = delirium)
- Default Mode Network – internal attention, enables recall of personal information and future planning (damage = amnesia)
- Central Executive Network – planning and problem solving, goal directed thought (damage = coma)
Transcranial direct-current brain stimulation and physical fitness training are examples of methods used in the research world that strengthen cognitive function, but that have yet to be encouraged for use in patient treatment. Transcranial direct-current brain stimulation can be specifically targeted to parts of the injured brain, to stimulate it and to facilitate recovery. Development and use of particular assessment standards, as well as more modern treatment plans based on cognitive research, are essential to better outcomes for those patients with traumatic brain injuries.
South Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate for Victims of Brain Injuries
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, South Jersey personal injury lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help you fight for your rights and obtain appropriate treatment for your injuries. Our personal injury lawyers will review your case at no charge to you and we charge a lower contingency fee rate than many other personal injury lawyers. Call our Cherry Hill, New Jersey or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania offices at 856-414-0010 or use our online contact form. We serve clients throughout South Jersey in Camden County, Burlington County, Cumberland County, Salem County, Gloucester County, Atlantic County, and Southeastern Pennsylvania.