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Human tongue may be key to brain injury therapy

In the immediate aftermath of a Massachusetts accident resulting in serious brain injury, victims and their families are often focused solely on the immediate needs. Securing the proper medical treatment and making the necessary arrangements to support the victim's immediate family often consume the days and weeks following the injury. However, a brain injury creates a range of long-term needs, and these issues must also be given the proper consideration.

Scientific advancements in the field of medical research and technology offer hope to brain injury victims and their families. One recently announced development suggests that the human tongue may be key in treating such injuries. Researchers have developed a device that stimulates the tongue-brain connection, and may help brain injured patients regain function lost due to the injury.

The therapy involves sending an electronic stimulation to the tongue as specific occupational, physical or cognitive exercises are conducted. In this way, the brain is stimulated into forming new neural pathways, which can help patients regain previously lost brain function. Even more exciting: the effects of the stimulation remain after the electric signal is discontinued, suggesting that this form of therapy has long-lasting or even permanent effects.

For Massachusetts victims of a serious brain injury, access to this and other cutting-edge treatment often depends on having the funding needed to participate. When the brain injury was the result of the negligence of another party, a personal injury lawsuit can lead to an award of damages that can assist in accessing treatment options. The effects of brain injury are long-ranging, and care should be given to obtain sufficient funding to address those needs.

Source: The North Jefferson News, "Can nerve endings in the tongue help us treat traumatic brain injury?" Jason Bittel, Feb. 27, 2013

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