Currently, there is no gold standard for assessing and treating brain injuries in medically/socially vulnerable populations such as children and survivors of IPV with repeated brain injuries.
Currently, there is no gold standard for assessing and treating brain injuries in medically/socially vulnerable populations such as children and survivors with repeated brain injuries. The overarching focus of the Brain Function and Recovery Lab is to identify and refine rapid and objective detection methods and reliable and cost-effective treatment in brain injury that can be used even by those communities that have limited awareness of and access to appropriate clinical care.
Though disabling, a single mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) may not always cause persistent functional deficits; however, it increases the brain’s vulnerability to additional injuries. Repeated mTBIs exacerbate injury outcomes leading to lasting functional impairments, especially when the second injury occurs within a short period of the primary insult. Repeated mTBIs may alter functional connectivity of brain networks and may potentially dysregulate cerebral blood flow in association with autonomic nervous system (ANS) abnormalities such as attenuated heart rate variability (HRV) and delayed pupillary response. ANS disruption also produces long-lasting behavioral deficits, motor deficits (balance/gait dysfunction), and cognitive deficits. Repeated mTBIs may lead to neurodegenerative disorders, often resulting in chronic morbidity and mortality. Brain injuries, particularly mild, do not often show on brain scans. Brain injury symptoms could also mimic symptoms of other trauma-related disorders. Thus, appropriately classifying and treating brain injuries present a challenge to health care providers.