Reintroduction to one’s pre-injury activities may be more effective than rest for the recovery after a brain injury. This was the surprising finding in a study by researchers at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.
After a series of experiments on mice, the team of researchers has found that when recovering from a brain injury, returning to one’s usual, pre-injury activities may actually speed recovery much faster than a prolonged period of rest. If the findings of the study are confirmed, doctors all across the world will have to change their approach to treating patients with brain injury.
Our San Diego brain injury attorney at the Law Office of Edward J. Babbitt, APC., has looked into the findings of the study. The study further proves that the brain has a fantastic capacity to adapt in response to trauma.
Forget about rest, activity could be key to a speedy recovery after a brain injury
Turns out, re-engaging the brain soon after the injury may be more effective for the recovery than resting the brain. Randy Bruno, PhD, the study’s senior researchers, admitted that this finding was “completely unexpected” even for their team of researchers.
The Columbia researchers have worked on the study for several years, examining the brain’s cerebral cortex. And even though the study focused on mice, the same conclusion could be applied to the human brain as well. However, the link between reintroduction to one’s pre-injury activities soon after the injury and the effectiveness of recovery in humans is yet to be studied.
After temporarily turning off barrel-cortex cells in mice, the researchers divided them into two groups: those that were reintroduced to the main task (which was using their whiskers to strike objects) immediately after the injury, and those that rested for three days before being reintroduced to the task.
The second groups showed incomplete rehabilitation and was not able to perform as good as the first group despite the fact that they rested for three days. The finding of the study offered an unthinkable conclusion: the key to a speedy recovery after a brain injury may actually lie in reintroduction to one’s task early, not a prolonged period of rest and inactivity.
Rest after a brain injury may be counterproductive for the recovery, but do doctors know it?
“If other studies confirm that re-exposing patients to their pre-injury activities is key to a speedy recovery after a brain injury, doctors all around the world will have to adapt in order to improve recovery times for their patients,” says our brain injury attorney in San Diego. In theory, the doctors who fail to apply this practice to their approach to treatments could be held liable under the legal doctrine of medical malpractice if their patients can prove that activity, not rest, could have helped them recover faster.
Immobilizing patients with brain injury may be counterproductive for the recovery after a brain injury. Since the dawn of time, conventional wisdom has told us that a prolonged period of rest is key to recovery after a brain injury. But today, studies suggest that resting the brain after a traumatic event could actually impede the recovery.
Therefore, if the studies confirm that the same approach to treatments can be applied to humans with brain injuries, reintroduction to such basic tasks as walking, sitting, grasping, and others, early on could potentially become the basis for treatment plans.
If you have suffered a brain injury in an accident and you do not agree with your doctor’s treatment plan, which advises you to rest for a prolonged period of time before being re-exposed to such basic tasks as walking and grasping, speak to our San Diego brain injury attorney to have an independent evaluation of your treatment and whether you are entitled to compensation under the legal theory of medical malpractice.