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Diffusion Tensor Imaging for Brain Injury Victims


Some forms of modern technology change so rapidly that even established businesses can occasionally struggle to keep up. Medical practitioners often play “catch-up” with new technology; when a form of it is eventually tested and accepted, however, the courts must then play catch-up with the medical practitioners as the technology is integrated into standard practices. One common example of this is expert testimony of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in conjunction with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a new and innovative form of diagnostic examination. This has some defense attorneys and defense courtroom physicians concerned that the acceptance of DTI in the courtroom will bring greater justice for brain injuries which may have been easier to dismiss for minimal compensation in the past. Diffusion tensor imaging is used to examine the brain and offers a particular advantage: these scans reveal more information about the brain’s wiring than other commonly-used scans today. Using DTI, network connections even at the core of the brain can be studied to help explain degenerative diseases, psychiatric problems, and similar debilitations and identify critical points of damage.

However, DTI has been attacked and criticized by defense attorneys who work with insurance companies. They, in turn, have been accused of bias in favor of their underlying goal: to minimize settlement payouts on behalf of the insurance company. According to Bruce H. Stern in the New Jersey Lawyer Magazine (DIFFUSION TENSOR IMAGING Objective Proof of Traumatic Brain Injury):

“Diffusion tensor imaging is a useful diagnostic tool in research and it is evident from group analysis that DTI can identify traumatic brain injury-associated changes in the brain across a range of injury severity, from mild to severe DTI. The argument, however, is this finding is based primarily upon group analyses and there is not conclusive evidence to date that DTI can be used for a diagnosis…at the individual patient level. This argument ignores a large quantity of peer-reviewed scientific literature supporting the clinical use of DTI and ignores that DTI is being used at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to detect and treat wounded service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Despite some friction, the acceptance of DTI is certainly good news for all brain injury victims, as traditional testing has not always been able to measure the truest and fullest extents of the loss of function suffered by these victims and many have been left uncompensated for a large portion of their damages. Diffusion tensor imaging will surely help bring justice and rightfully-deserved compensation for countless brain injury victims as it is integrated further into standard medical practice.

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury in an accident, contact Mike Agruss Law, LLC for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.

Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.

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