TBI Ages the Brain According to New Study

Dr. James Cole of the Imperial College London published an important paper on TBI and brain aging in the April 2015 issue of the Annals of Neurology. Prior to the study Dr. Cole and colleagues developed a computer program to track normal aging of the human brain using MRI images. After age 40 normal adults show a general decline in white matter thickness as well as thinning of grey matter in specific areas of the brain. For the study Dr. Cole did MRI brain scans on 99 people who had suffered varying levels of TB from one month to 46 years post injury. What he found was that normal controls have zero difference between their chronological age and predicted brain age, whereas in the TBI group the subject’s brains appeared an average of 5 years older than their chronological age. Dr. Cole said the difference between chronologic and actual brain age (based on MRI imaging of brain tissue) is much greater for people with more severe TBIs. He also said the study shows that the effects of TBI on brain health and tissue size go on for years after the initial injury.

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