Neuromarkers of Poor Social Outcomes After a Brain Injury

Neuromarkers of Poor Social Outcomes After a Brain Injury

Recently, a research article was published discussing potential neuromarkers of brain functioning that may help predict someone’s social outcomes following a TBI. There are a number of serious complications that can arise when someone has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. Much of the attention is paid to permanent motor and sensory deficits that someone might develop. At the same time, it is just as important to think about someone’s social outcomes following a TBI.

Social functioning is critical when someone is trying to maintain personal and professional relationships following a serious head injury. Unfortunately, doctors have had trouble producing an accurate prognosis regarding someone’s level of social functioning following a traumatic brain injury. Now, a team of researchers believes they have identified neuromarkers that can do exactly that.

A Deficit in Social Functioning

There are a number of reasons why people who have suffered a TBI have trouble with their social skills as they recover. One of the main reasons is that people who have sustained a head injury often have trouble interpreting people’s faces. The brain is trained to recognize tiny shifts in someone’s facial structure, allowing individuals to read someone’s emotions. These non-spoken social cues are crucial when someone is trying to function effectively at home, at work, in school, and in the community.

In the past, studies in this area have shown that the brain’s ability to pick up on these social skills depends on its ability to coordinate activity between multiple regions of the brain. At the same time, there hasn’t been much research regarding what happens to this coordinated network after someone has suffered a brain injury. A recent research study sought to change this.

The Design of the Research Study

A team of researchers ran a series of tests on individuals who were broken up into two separate groups. The first group consisted of close to two dozen individuals who had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Some of the common causes of brain injuries include auto accidents, slip and fall events, and motorcycle collisions. The second group consisted of a similar number of people who had not suffered a brain injury.

The research team conducted a series of imaging studies on everyone in both groups. They were looking for neuromarkers that might indicate changes in the coordinated network that plays a role in social functioning. The researchers noticed a pattern among the individuals who had suffered a brain injury with regard to this network.

The Results of the Research Study

The researchers found that everyone who had suffered a TBI had deficits in two specific regions of their brain. It appeared that their brains did not have as much functioning in the prefrontal and temporal lobes of the brain when compared to the healthy controls. In addition, the researchers found that the degrees of activity in these lobes was a direct predictor of the severity of social deficits in those who had suffered a TBI.

This study significantly helps researchers and doctors better understand why and how those who have suffered a head injury might have social issues during the recovery process. The level of activity in these two lobes directly predicts someone’s level of social functioning as they heal. More research is needed to guide doctors on how to use this imaging in real-time in the clinical setting; however, it gives doctors another tool they can use to help patients and their family members.

West Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a West Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer. Social participation is an important quality of life issue following a brain injury. These neuromarkers may prove useful in developing a prognosis. If someone you know has sustained a brain injury due to the negligence of another person or entity, you can call me by using (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400.

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Attribution of Photograph: The picture placed at the beginning of this article was located first at Pixabay.com. The image has been shown at this location with the permission of the Creative Commons License.

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