Before his laboratory developed the new imaging method, Pitt scientist Walt Schneider said, “the standard clinical report after a brain injury like this was, ‘You have some swelling in the brain.’ What did it mean? We didn’t know. What was the prognosis in six months? We didn’t know.

“This is a really unsatisfying report for someone who may never work again in their lives.”

But with high-definition tracking, he said, “we could say to this patient that the good news is, most of your cables are fine, so we don’t expect any major problems with affect, memory and language. But there was serious damage to your motor tracts, and you’ve taken a really bad hit on your hand, and we don’t know if it will come back. And although your leg has a substantial loss of fibers, it still suggests with rehabilitation training that you’re going to get a lot of functionality back.”

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