Brain networks and brain injuries

Pennsylvania residents who have suffered brain injuries may be interested in the results of a recently published study by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, and the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. The results indicated that focusing on the network of activity in the brain instead of individual regions could provide information about why certain brain injuries are worse than others.

Depending on the location of the injury, the brain can exhibit a wide range of responses. This has been believed to be a result of each brain region having a specific function. However, there have been a growing number of indications that the brain’s regions operate as a network rather than each region by itself. In order to understand the effects of brain injuries, it is necessary to examine both localized and network-wide changes.

To study the patterns of the network architecture in the brain and how they are altered as a result of injuries, the authors used ideas from graph theory and Diffusion Tensor Imaging. The patterns can be broken down into eigenmodes or subnetworks where propagating and reverberatory activity become concentrated.

The authors were able to demonstrate that healthy subjects commonly had the most critical eigenmodes. When the effects of brain lesions were modeled on the eigenmodes, it was discovered that the impact of a lesion on the eigenmodes depended on the site of the lesion. Lesions that had the most impact on network eigenmodes were located at the center of white matter fiber pathways that managed the flow of information within the brain.

Although brain injuries are commonly associated with contact sports, they can also result from a car accident or a slip and fall. If the injury was the result of another party’s negligence, an attorney can often assist in seeking compensation for the injured victim.