Wrongful Death or Major Brain Injury After an Accident? New Alertness Training Holds Promise for Survivors
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can lead to death (and, subsequently, to wrongful death lawsuits) if untreated or treated poorly. So what exactly can be done to reduce the complications of concussions and other head injuries, so that more people survive them and recover from the direct consequences? Studies suggest that a new type of training may be useful.
TBIs worsen executive dysfunction, potentially by altering neural networks or by directly influencing the structure of the cerebral cortex. How can such attention be restored? Using computerized mental training, researchers have managed to restore TBI victims’ ability to concentrate and improve attention spans. This computer-run training (technically known as tonic and phasic alertness training) tested by researchers at UC schools, the VA and the Brain Plasticity Institute shows significant promise.
Here’s what they did and why their findings could be significant. Using sophisticated tools, they gave five TBI patients (one of whom had significant anxiety) attentional training in an attempt to improve their ability to concentrate, improve executive functioning and stabilize and improve mood. They gave the patients approximately 5 hours of work doing an executive control task. They evaluated the patients’ neuropsychology prior to the training and afterwards to detect potential positive (or negative) changes in executive functioning and emotional equanimity. The results were extremely encouraging, suggesting that this type of “tonic and phasing alertness” conditioning could boost recovery for TBI victims.
All that said, significant limits and caveats should be discussed. First of all, this was a small study. Will the results be replicated? Or will they be revealed to be statistical artifacts? Whenever you do science, you need to be very careful to double-check your results and do what you can to avoid fooling yourself and like-minded researchers.
Second, even if this training DOES work, then what are its limits? What level of improvement in executive functioning can be expected, for whom and under what conditions?
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury in a motorcycle accident or other unfortunate situation, and you’re now trying to manage a TBI and figure out how to rebuild your life and your career, our experienced Denver personal injury attorneys can help. Alternatively, if you’ve lost someone in such an event, we can also help you obtain compensation and hold liable parties responsible for wrongful death. Contact our offices today to discuss your next steps.