MRI Finds Signs of Brain Damage Not Seen in CT Scans

In a new study, led by the researchers from UCSF and the San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH), it was found that MRI scans may be more effective in determining long term brain damage than CT scans.  Researchers studied 135 patients with mild traumatic brain injuries, who all received CT scans when they were first admitted.  A week later they had MRI scans done.  It was found that 99 patients out of 135 had no detectable brain damage in the CT scans, while the MRI scans showed about a quarter of the 99 patients had “focal lesions,” which are signs of microscopic bleeding, which can ultimately leading to permanent damage. This study is important because as of now, doctors are unable to tell whether or not someone with mild traumatic brain injuries will have cognitive problems in the future. With this new discovery they will be able to help figure out whether patients will have future damage or not.

They are continuing to study if MRI scans are better at diagnosing long term problems, and for now people are only receiving CT scans when they are admitted to the hospital, not both.  This is important for patients and their families to know this because it can make a difference in their long-term health!

For more information on MRI detecting brain damage.