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Activity may be better than rest following brain injuries

Normally, someone recovering from a brain injury in Louisiana is advised to rest. However, new research suggests it may be better for people to make an effort to get active again as soon as possible. The conventional approach to recovery following some types of brain injury is to give the brain time to heal naturally by resting. However, results from a study involving mice suggest this complex structure responds better to an appropriate level of stimulation as it can help repair damage caused by a stroke or some types of trauma.

The focus of the study on mice with brain injuries was the barrel cortex, a structure in rodents that's similar to the cerebral cortex in humans. It interprets signals from the animals' whiskers via the thalamus. The mice were placed in a dark box and trained to find an object with their whiskers. When they found it, they used a paw to dispense water as a reward. In addition, when researchers turned off the barrel-cortex cells with a laser light, the mice had difficulty performing the desired task.

After removing the barrel cortex, the animals were unable to duplicate results from the initial test. However, the next day, researchers were surprised to notice that the mice once again could find the object, suggesting that the brain perceives touch differently than what was previously thought. In another experiment, the mice were allowed to rest for three days after the initial injury. This time, they were slower to respond and recover. While the results cannot be applied directly to humans, researchers hope the findings will inspire neurologists to reevaluate care procedures for brain injury patients.

A brain injury is a serious type of personal injury that can exact a long-term impact on a person's quality of life. If someone believes negligence may have been a contributing factor, a lawyer may make an effort to identify the responsible parties. Depending on the circumstances, victims may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, long-term care and lost wages from the inability to return to work for the foreseeable future during the recovery period.

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The Law Offices of W.A. “Chip” Forstall, Jr.

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