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New imaging techniques may help prove, or disprove, brain injuries (access required)

Lawyers trying to prove brain injury claims – and the lawyers contesting those claims – now have new tools that sharpen the focus on what’s happening inside a patient’s head. New developments in brain imaging techniques promise more objective evidence for proving, or disproving, brain injury. Nearly a dozen plaintiffs’ lawyers watched intently this month as doctors ...

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  1. I would like to compliment Mr. Vieth for a well-written article which summarizes our presentation last month and interesting comments by various attorneys. While my colleagues and I remain excited by these new MRI brain imaging techniques, I would like to clarify that they are not a “lab test for brain injury.” We do not base a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on these techniques. Instead, these techniques provide ancillary information which may or may not support the diagnosis of TBI. Nevertheless, because they are quantitative and clearly objective, they overcome some of the other hurdles which may stand in the way of other evidence for TBI. So while NeuroQuant may show evidence of abnormally small brain volume, I agree with Mr. Sharp that other clinical information is needed, for example, to determine what caused the abnormally small volume.
    Regarding the level of peer-reviewed evidence, NeuroQuant is a technique approved for use in Alzheimer’s disease by the FDA, and we use it off-label for TBI. Its FDA approval indicates that it has passed a high level of peer review, but I agree with Mr. McGavin that it needs to be–and no doubt will be–subjected to further review in clinical and forensic settings.
    NeuroQuant analyses can be done on MRIs from virtually any of the many MRI centers in Virginia, including 1.5 Tesla MRI scanners, as long as the correct scanning sequence is used. So there would be no extra cost of buying a new scanner at those settings. 3.0 Tesla scanners provide better resolution, which is desirable, and are available in the Richmond, Roanoke and Hampton Roads areas.
    Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues and co-presenters, Alfred Ochs, Ph.D. and Timothy Henshaw, M.D., who helped to develop and present this work; and I’d like to thank Mr. Broughton and Gentry Locke for hosting this event and allowing us to share this exciting new information with others in the TBI community.

    David E. Ross, M.D.

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