Research led by the University of Melbourne suggests that brain damage continues to develop and evolve for months after a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Professor Terry O’Brien, Head of the University of Melbourne’s Department of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital said the results provided new insights into the progressive nature of how the brain changes following injury. “This opens up a window of opportunity to give treatments to halt this damage, and therefore reduce the long term neurological and psychiatric complications that many patients experience,” he said.

The study revealed that areas of the brain remote from the site of the direct trauma and which showed no signs of initial injury on the MRI suffered decreases in function. The hippocampus, critical to memory and emotion, was the key area of the brain to suffer these changes.

The study, funded by the Victorian Neurotrauma Initiative, was published in the latest issue of ‘The Journal of Nuclear Medicine’.

David Robinson a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Serious Injuries Team said: “This is a fascinating development which sheds light on an issue that has been the subject of much speculation. Any research that helps us understand and possibly reduce the potentially devastating effects of a brain injury is welcome”.