Brain Plasticity and Moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain Plasticity Techniques Provide Hope for Those with Mild to Moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries
You’re stopped at a traffic light when all of a sudden, your vehicle is hit from behind by someone who was following too closely or wasn’t paying attention. Upon impact, your body is thrust forward and back, and your head hits the headrest. This is a typical rear-end collision scenario. Initially, you feel a bit shook up from the crash, but brush it off and believe you are fine and just going to be a little sore. Over time, though, you notice some peculiar things happening to you—things are harder to remember, you feel dizzy or disoriented when moving, and certain visual-spatial tasks such as navigating unfamiliar locations while driving have become extremely difficult and taxing. These are just some of the symptoms that have been linked with mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries, such as those caused by concussions.
A brain injury disrupts the brain’s wiring. Often, brain injuries go undetected because traditional CT and MRI scans cannot show cellular damage that is microscopic, but there can be damage on the inside the sheathing of neurons and also in the synapses.
In a new book called “The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get it Back,” DePaul University professor Clark Elliott, Ph.D. recounts his experience coping for eight years with the effects of a concussion from a rear-end collision that left him struggling with daily functions and shows how new techniques in the fields of brain plasticity and neuro-optometric rehabilitation were able to help him get his life back.
Through the use of special eyeglasses, the brain pathways along which information is sent from the eyes to the visual cortex can be altered so that the information is sent along healthier, non-damaged pathways. Combining the use of these eyeglasses with visual puzzles and exercises for the brain, these new brain pathways can be strengthened and built up to become the new “go-to” pathways that are used and relied upon.
Over the years, we’ve represented many clients who have suffered mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries from various types of accidents. Excitingly, new research dealing with brain plasticity suggests that the brain is an organ that is pliable, and can be rewired or trained to take on new functions after injury.