Could an implant benefit those with traumatic brain injuries?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2023 | Brain Injury

Injuries to the brain often prove to be catastrophic in part because of how hard they can be to treat. Most treatment options for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) require immediate intervention. Doctors may perform surgery after someone’s initial trauma to alleviate pressure on the brain.

Once the injury itself begins improving, the person with the TBI may require rehabilitative support. In many cases, the symptoms produced by a TBI could become a lifelong challenge. The brain generally cannot heal itself as fully as other parts of the body, and any damage done can cause lasting challenges.

Those struggling with cognitive challenges or memory issues typically have lifelong symptoms. However, recent research has shown that there may be a new option for those with TBIs. A surgical implant in the brain could potentially improve cognitive functioning and decrease the impact a TBI has on someone’s daily life.

What have researchers attempted?

The brain largely functions through transmissions of electrical signals. Therefore, researchers have begun experimenting with using external electrical stimuli to alter brain functioning. A small study involving a group of patients with TBIs that they had for two years or longer. The patients underwent surgery to implant electrical devices in their brains. These devices can provide a small electrical charge in the brain according to input from an external source. Research looking at a group of five test patients found that the implanted devices sped up the performance of cognitive tasks by 30%.

Typically, two years out from a TBI, someone’s prognosis is unlikely to change much at all. The idea that a simple implanted device could improve cognitive functioning is a very exciting one. Unfortunately, for the time being, those with TBIs have few options for treatment after receiving trauma care and rehabilitation support.

They will also likely have huge medical expenses and reduced earning potential because of their TBI. Those with TBIs related to serious personal injury or similar incident may need support as they negotiate with insurance providers. Oftentimes, the total cost of a TBI will go well beyond basic insurance coverage. People may also need to contemplate personal injury lawsuits to replace their lost wages and cover cutting-edge medical treatment necessary to recover as fully as possible from harm caused by another’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing.

With that said, understanding the medical treatment options – and seeking compensation to cover what is available – for TBIs may give those recently injured greater hope for the future.

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