From the use of leeches to bleed out diseases to lobotomies for psychiatric treatment, the types of medical treatment used to treat patients are always evolving. For the most part, the changes implemented by medical professionals are beneficial to patients.

Scientists throughout the country are currently attempting to find better ways to treat traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). In the last decade, we have become more aware of the dangers associated with these injuries. As such, various groups have gotten together to push for more research, better treatment and reduced risk of these injuries.

Better treatment may be on the horizon. A recent study is taking a novel look at the cells that are often damaged in a TBI. The data from the study could change how we treat the injury – for the better.

More on the study: Scientific terminology translated to laymen’s terms

A group of scientists at Brown University used neurons, or brain cells, grown on a dish to study how these cells are damaged when injured. Once “injured”, the cells were studied by the scientists. The way the scientists were able to study the cells was unique because they were watching the cells in three dimensions. Previous studies generally focus on the analysis of two dimensional images.

Impact of the study: Information gathered by the scientists

So far, scientists with the study have found that the cells they are studying take a reported six hours to show irreparable damage. What does this mean? There may be a six hour window after an injury where treatment could minimize any permanent damage to the victim.

Scientists are careful to note that the results are not exactly the same as those experienced in the human brain since it offers a view into individual cells. The brain is a complex network of multiple cells. However, the data collected from the study will still be able to offer scientists information on treatment options that may reduce the risk of long term effects due to a TBI.