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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Microbleeds May Worsen Outcome After Head Injury

An MRI scan shows black spots on a section of the brain, circled in red.

Traumatic microbleeds appear as dark lesions on MRI scans and suggest damage to brain blood vessels after head injury.

Photo: Latour Lab/NINDS

Using advanced imaging, researchers have uncovered new information regarding traumatic microbleeds, which appear as small, dark lesions on MRI scans after head injury but are typically too small to be detected on CT scans. The findings, published in Brain, suggest that traumatic microbleeds are a form of injury to brain blood vessels and may predict worse outcomes. The study was conducted in part by scientists at NINDS.

“Traumatic microbleeds may represent injury to blood vessels that occur following even minor head injury,” said Dr. Lawrence Latour, NINDS researcher and senior author of the study. “While we know that damage to brain cells can be devastating, the exact impact of this vascular injury following head trauma is uncertain and requires further study.”

This study, which involved researchers from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, included 439 adults who experienced head injury and were treated in the emergency department. The subjects underwent MRI scans within 48 hours of injury, and again during four subsequent visits. Participants also completed behavioral and outcome questionnaires.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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Associate Editor: Carla Garnett
Carla.Garnett@nih.gov

Staff Writers:

Eric Bock
Eric.Bock@nih.gov

Dana Talesnik
Dana.Talesnik@nih.gov

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