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Hope has been given to those suffering from severe brain injuries through the development of a bedside test.
The University of Birmingham has shown that responses to speech can be measured using electroencephalography and that the strength of these responses can be utilised by medical professionals to provide a prognosis and therefore enabling clinicians to make the most effective treatment decisions for that particular individual. This can hopefully reduce the number of brain injury claims made against hospitals, given that this allows the most efficient treatment path to be chosen.
However, the most promising outcome of the research is that this test can be conducted on those patients with the most severe injuries, including those in intensive care. This is possible because the test does not require any conscious response from the individual. This opens up the possibility of clinicians being able to plan their future treatment as well as gaining insights about how the individual may recover in a timely manner.
The study assessed 28 patients with acute traumatic brain injury who were not under sedation, within the first few days of their injury. They were played streams of sentences and phrases made up of monosyllabic words whilst their brain activity was monitored using EEG. The researchers were then able to assess the level of these patients’ comprehension through the strength of synchronicity. These were then followed up at 3 and 6 months and it was found that the outcomes correlated with the strength of the individual’s response to speech measured by the EEG.
At present, patients with traumatic brain injuries are assessed by their behaviour or a CT scan. However this can be open to interpretation and therefore leaves scope for a brain injury compensation claim. However, patients who remain unresponsive are incredibly difficult to diagnose and ultimately clinicians are faced with the difficult decision as to whether to continue life-sustaining therapy or not.
Traumatic Brain Injuries occur when there has been a trauma to the head, and commonly occurs after a fall, road traffic accident or assault. They can have lifelong impacts on the individual depending on the severity of the injury. In many circumstances it may be appropriate for the individual or their family to pursue head injury compensation to help cover the costs of medical care that is needed as a result.
Whilst the study is in the early stages, it is hoped that the findings can be used to provide new treatment to those who need it and to improve patient outcomes for those suffering with the most severe brain injuries, enabling the correct medical decisions to be made in the quickest possible time.
If you have experienced a head injury, whatever the severity, and you are experiencing long term consequences, it could be advisable to contact a specialist head injury solicitor to discuss the circumstances around your injury and find out if you may be eligible to receive compensation.