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Study shows that disruption of brain's network affects function

A new study published in PLOS Computational Biology could help doctors understand why some injuries to the brain are so much worse than others.

Where the injury to the brain is located determines the range of responses. This is not a new belief. However, it appears that while each part of the brain has a specific role, that part does not work on its own. Instead, the brain works through connections or as a network. For doctors, this means that they must not just look for the changes that come when a specific part of the brain is injured, but changes that happen depending on where the network is disrupted.

The study used Diffusion-Tensor MRIs and graph theory ideas to find patterns to the "white matter network" of the brain. When this network is damaged, the patterns change. First, the study authors showed that healthy subjects had the same eigenmodes, which are like sub-networks. The researchers then identified these sub-networks as being primarily responsible for how information flows throughout the brain. Lesions that were centered in these sub-networks affected the eigenmodes the most.

When one particular connection -- between the right and left hemispheres called the corpus callosum -- is absent because of a rare neurodevelopmental disorder, the patient fares much better than those who have had that connection surgically removed. If this can be replicated in other instances, then future changes to the brain's structure, such as with surgery or disease, would allow doctors to specifically tailor a patient's treatment and therapy.

A brain injury can have a significant effect on a person, from the way they perform everyday tasks to the way they communicate with others. If you or a loved has suffered a brain injury due to another person's carelessness, recklessness or negligence, you have a right to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of consortium and much more. An experienced North Carolina lawyer can provide more information about your options moving forward.

Source: Science Daily, "New brain network model could explain differences in brain injuries," June 22, 2017

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