Do You Have Concussion Symptoms?

Concussions (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury or mTBI) have long been a mysterious and worrying injury for doctors to examine. Concussion symptoms can range anywhere from unconsciousness to memory loss to a slight headache. There are such a range of symptoms that it can be a difficult task for physicians to medically diagnose a concussion.

Concussions are unusual for most people but for athletes, some workers, and extreme sport enthusiasts, a concussion is just part of the territory. The problem with this is that as more research is being done on the long-term effects of concussions on professional athletes, we are learning that these bumps on the noggin can have a much deeper consequence. Any kind of traumatic brain injury is cause for concern but now Doctors Imaging has a beneficial new technology that can help determine the degree of brain injury and nerve damage due to a concussion. It’s called Diffusion Tensor Imaging or DTI/MRI.

Doctors Imaging was the first to introduce New Orleans to a 3.0T MRI and we added Diffusion Tensor Imaging to our list of services in 2016. Where standard MRIs are well-equipped to obtain useful and comprehensive images of brain tissue, DTI is an advanced form of MRI technology that improves diagnostic practices, particularly in the diagnosis and recovery of concussions.

Where most MRIs can tell if there is tissue damage or bleeding, DTI capabilities are able to explore the possibility of nerve damage in very specific areas of the brain’s white matter. Along with internal bleeding, nerve damage is the primary concern for physicians when dealing with a concussed patient. If you were to look at former football players or boxers, you notice that they have a higher prevalence of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease) and other neurological disorders as they age, and many believe this is from repeated exposure to head and back trauma. DTI MRIs are able to focus on the connecting circuits of the brain and localize nerve damage. By recognizing this nerve damage, doctors can keep a close eye on their patient and help them during the recovery from their injury.

One side effect that most doctors are very concerned about when they are seeing a concussed patient is axonal injury. Axonal injury is when a brain injury occurs that causes extensive lesions in the white matter tracts in a widespread or localized area. Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is so worrying because it can be indicative of long-term brain deficiency. DAI occurs in almost half of all concussion cases and now with this kind of advanced MRI technology, doctors will be able to make diagnoses and recoveries easier and more beneficial.

Like other MRIs, DTI does not use radiation, is non-invasive and has extremely high success rates. So if you or someone you know has concussion symptoms, be sure to give Doctors Imaging a call and have your DTI appointment made. If you have more questions or would like to speak to a representative at Doctors Imaging, feel free to call at 504-883-8111.

Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with DTI MRI

Between our work, family, school, and social lives, fatigue is a common feeling among people. Fatigue is one of the most reported symptoms to physicians. Defined as “extreme tiredness or exhaustion,” it can be hard for doctors to tell if a patient is simply tired or if there is a contributing condition like chronic fatigue syndrome that may be causing their exhaustion.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is described as more than just the usual day-to-day tiredness. This condition’s symptoms include an exhaustion that is both debilitating and without cause. This means that although you may have extreme tired feelings, chronic fatigue is usually accompanied by impaired memory or concentration, dizziness, inability to stay awake or upright, and overwhelming exhaustion without exertion. Persisting longer than 6 months, this condition requires more than a caffeine fix and a good night’s sleep – it needs medical attention.

CFS can become more than just debilitating, it can be dangerous as well. Fatigue of this degree can become problematic when one is driving or operating heavy machinery. The other concern with most doctors in diagnosing symptoms in relation to chronic fatigue is that they can resemble other diseases like lyme disease, major depressive disorder, lupus, and hypothyroidism. Hopefully the rampant confusion can be laid to rest finally thanks to innovative technologies like diffuse tensor imaging.

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a form of advanced MRI in which the nerve fibers of the brain can be specifically highlighted and imaged to determine possible damage from things like concussions or conditions like chronic fatigue. In the same way that MRIs use sound waves and computer technology in order to image the internal organs, diffuse tensor imaging focuses on the nerve fibers in the brain and is able to image them with startling detail. Where MRIs can show the musculoskeletal and vascular system, going even deeper into the nerves is where doctors can see definitive proof of chronic fatigue syndrome. In the results found in one recent study, those suffering from this syndrome had more white matter in their brain and had “two connection points in the brains…were thicker than the same connection in healthier patients. In essence, “the more abnormal the tract, the worse the fatigue.”

When the nerve fibers in the brain are experiencing irregularity or degeneration, in combination with the aforementioned symptoms, doctors can diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome faster and with more accuracy. The time delay and inconsistency that was once prominent with this condition can now be eliminated thanks to the advanced MRI technology made by diffusion tensor imaging. Doctors Imaging currently offers DTI for concussion evaluation and is working on future applications for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as Parkinsons Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

If you’re in the Metairie, Louisiana area, you can schedule your MRI online today, or by calling Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111.