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New Study Reveals Promising Path for Rehabilitation of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Patients

Traumatic brain injuries undoubtedly affect normal brain control and activity in a vast array of possibilities, and traumatic brain injuries don’t only affect football players. Victims of car accidents who have experienced violent blows to the head also suffer from the countless complications of severe brain trauma.  Currently, no such cognitive or medical treatment exists to effectively treat brain damage, but recently researchers from Tel-Aviv University have conducted tests that may prove to be a step in the right direction to rehabilitation.   The researchers concluded through their tests that an enriched environment for patients with traumatic brain injuries plays a significant role in regulation and behavior, which, in turn, could dramatically increases treatment success.

The research team at Tel Aviv University, led by Professor Chagi Pick of the Sagol School of Neuroscience and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, conducted their study on two separate groups of mice with nominal traumatic brain injury.  After separating the groups, the first set of mice were placed in cages and regulated with standard procedure; nothing differing from their normal habitation before the testing.  The second, seemingly more fortunate set of mice, were placed in a veritably, enriched environment.  During the course of this experiment, the second set of mice supplied with bountiful spaces, sensory stimuli, and a free range of exercise and food, appeared to improve at a much more rapid pace compared to the first group.

How the researchers were able to accurately mark the difference of improvement between the two sets of mice proves to be a fitting question.  Through a test called Novel Object Recognition, where mice are exposed to a gamut of new objects, the researches can observe how the differing sets of mice initially react.  Depending on a mouse’s curiosity, and its ability to navigate through the mazes it is place in, a research can gauge its brain control.  As expected, the mice that had previously been exposed to an enriched environment, seemed to possess greater mental faculties and improvement, compared to the slightly more lackluster set of mice, which did not enjoy an enriched environment.

“We have shown that just six weeks in an enriched environment can help animals recover from cognitive dysfunctions after traumatic brain injury,” said Professor Pick. “Possible clinical implications indicate the importance of adapting elements of enriched environments to humans, such as prolonged and intensive physical activity, possibly combined with intensive cognitive stimulation. Through proper exercise, stimuli, and diet, we can improve a patient’s condition. No one is promising a cure, but now we have evidence that this can help.”

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. “Enriched environments hold promise for brain injury patients.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141111111657.htm>.