FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Brain Safe Louisiana is a joint clinical/experimental research effort between scientists (Mind Research Network) and medical service providers (Doctors Imaging) to develop better methods for detecting and assessing concussions, also known mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Brain Safe Louisiana is an annual subscription-based program where an athlete or participant undergoes an initial baseline MRI and cognitive screening.  This baseline screening is safe and noninvasive and takes about 90 minutes.  The baseline scans provide a comprehensive brain health checkup.  Then, if an athlete suffers a concussive event during the next year, Brain Safe Louisiana will provide up to 3 additional MRI scans immediately following the injury to assess change from the baseline using new brain imaging evaluation methods.  The results of these new evaluation methods will be used to help inform return-to-play and return-to-school decisions.  Every year as the subscription is renewed, the athlete or participant will undergo another MRI screening which will be compared to the original baseline MRI.  The changes to the MRI results will detect and reveal the impact of sporting and other high-risk activities to the athlete’s or participant’s brain over time, known in research as a longitudinal study.

We are primarily focused on individuals at-risk for head injury (i.e, youth participating in contact sports), but anyone can participate in this program. With better tools to assess brain injury and post-injury recovery, the data collected can be used to better inform return-to-play and return-to-school decisions. Awareness about TBI and its potential long-term effects is increasing, but return-to-play, school, and work decisions are still based on relatively little information and a relatively short period of rest and recovery.

The aim of our project is to learn better ways to find brain changes when there is a head injury and to find out what thos changes mean. .  This project is based on existing research developed by scientists at the Mind Research Network, who have collected an analyzed over 15,000 MRI scans as part of its research mission into brain development and health.

Brain Safe Louisiana can help measure the impact of sports and other high-risk activities on brain health over time.  Longitudinal information can help parents and their athletes assess the risks associated with continued play.  Brain Safe Louisiana aims to help better determine timing on return-to-play, return-to-work, and return-to-classroom once a participant suffers a concussion or TBI.

Incidental MRI findings: One of the potential benefits of a baseline MRI scan is that brain abnormalities can be detected prior to complications that may be made worse through sports or work-related injury.

The annual subscription cost for this program is $1,495.00 per individual per year.

The subscription fee includes a baseline MRI scan of the participant.  If a participant suffers a concussive event, the subscription will include three follow up MRI scans that will be compared to the baseline scan.  We will analyze change in brain structure and function from the athlete’s baseline scan following concussion. This information serves as an indicator of recovery and can be used in consultation with the participant’s healthcare provider in return to play, school, or work decisions. 

If an athlete suffers a TBI or concussion while in the program, we will provide up to 3 follow up MRI scans to evaluate the condition of the participant in consultation with his or her medical professional.

If the participant is not injured during the subscription year, the participant can renew his or her subscription for the following year and a new baseline MRI scan will be collected.  This subsequent MRI scan can be compared to the original baseline to determine the impact of sports or other high-risk activities on the brain over the past year.  It also serves as a yearly measure of brain and cognitive development of your child over time. Follow up scans not used (because the participant was not injured) cannot be rolled over.

Yes. Anyone 5 years of age or older upon initial enrollment can participate if no conditions or medical issues that conflict with the MRI. We will ask you some questions when you register for the program to determine if we need additional information from you before you can participate.

If you are worried about you or someone else having a head injury over the next year, you could benefit from having a baseline MRI scan and cognitive testing.

Group medical insurance policies will likely not cover this program.

Your information is confidential and secure.  Because this is a clinical/experimental research study, we will ask you to sign a HIPPA Authorization to Use and Disclose Protected Health Information for Research Purposes form.  All of the information we collect about you will be coded with a unique research subject identifier (URSI) and will be kept confidential on password-protected computers according to MRN information security policies. The record linking your name to your study ID number (which the study data is labeled with) will be kept indefinitely (forever) at MRN in a confidential manner.  Information resulting from this study may be published in journals; however, you will not be identified by name in any publications. Information from your participation in this study may be reviewed by the Research Team, MRN, federal and state regulatory agencies as required by law, and by the Ethical and Independent Review Services, which provides the ethical oversight of this research protocol.

Brain Safe Louisiana will refund 50% of the amount paid after scheduling but before scanning has commenced. Please note this is not meant to be punitive, but scheduling is critical and participants who do not to show up for their scanning appointment affect the potential to scan others.

MRI scanning is a safe, noninvasive procedure and has been a part of diagnostic medicine for decades.  An MRI scan is considered ‘minimal risk’ by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The MRI does not use any ionizing radiation (like x-rays). However, any magnetic material (metal) in or on your body could be affected by the magnet.  The MRI safety screen questionnaire will be used to determine if you will be safe to undergo MRI scanning.

Pregnancy: While there are no known negative consequences of MRI on a developing fetus, it is our policy not to scan pregnant women. If you are of child bearing potential and wish to have a urine pregnancy test to rule out pregnancy, will be pleased to offer it.

Tattoos: Rarely, large tattoos can heat up during an MRI scan and cause skin irritation like a sunburn. If this occurs, we can stop the scan and minimize discomfort with a cold compress.

Anxiety: Some people feel anxious inside the scanner (e.g. claustrophobia—fear of small spaces).  We do our best to minimize this risk by providing a TV screen to watch with images, entertaining videos, or music along with continual communication with the MRI technician performing the scans.  If you / your child feel(s) so anxious that you / your child cannot complete the task, you / your child can stop the scan and end participation at any time.

Metal workers or others working with metal without adequate eye protection: When you register for Brain Safe Louisiana, you must complete and sign an MRI safety checklist.  For example, if you think you have any metal in your body, you should not undergo an MRI scan.  If you think you may have a sliver or tiny piece of metal in your eye that may not have been removed (i.e., from working in a machine shop), you should undergo what is known as an orbital X-ray to determine if an MRI is safe for you.   Doctors Imaging can provide this X-ray for you if you think there may be any metal in your eye.  The cost of this X-ray is $70 on a cash basis and is not included in the Brain Safe Louisiana subscription.  You must be cleared with this X-ray (if needed) prior to getting the MRI scan.

Incidental MRI findings: One of the potential benefits of a baseline MRI scan is that brain abnormalities can be detected prior to complications that may be made worse through sports- or work-related injury.  However, sometimes (i.e., about 1-3% of cases nationwide) the research scan may show something that might be a medical issue for you/your child now or in the future. You/your child could be unnecessarily worried if a problem is suspected but does not ultimately result in the need for medical care. An abnormality in you/your child’s brain could also affect you/your child’s ability to get insurance or employment or affect your return to professional duties or athletic competition. Following up an incidental finding may lead to tests and treatments that may have risks of their own.

Yes, but it is likely that some or all of the images may be compromised.  The MRI will not affect your braces but the metal in the braces will affect the quality of the images generated by the MRI. 

The scan itself will be only 30 minutes.  However, the participant  will need about 20-30 minutes in prep time in advance of the scan.   Please plan to arrive early.

Yes, we provide a 30 minute online computer evaluation as part of the Baseline scan as well as if there is a suspected concussion or TBI.  This test is taken with a computer tablet as part of the brain evaluation and emphasizes thinking and reflexive skills which help aid in determining severity of a concussion or TBI.

The subscription price for the Brain Safe Louisiana Program allows us to cover three follow-up MRI scans post injury.  If more than four total MRI scans are needed in a calendar year (baseline plus three follow up scans), each scan from Doctors Imaging will cost $500.00.  These fees must be paid prior to subsequent MRI scanning.

You should meet with your health care provider as soon as possible to diagnose your injury and determine a course of action.   Doctors Imaging will provide additional scans at a cost of $500.00 per scanning session.  Your subscription will also allow feedback through Mind Research Network supporting information for you and your health care provider about return-to-play, -school, and –work decisions.

No.  You should see your Doctor immediately should you have symptoms of a concussion. If you have an emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest available emergency room. Doctors Imaging of Metairie cannot provide acute emergency care.

Symptoms may include but are not limited to a brief loss of consciousness following injury, problems with memory, dizziness, confusion, double or blurred vision, drowsiness, and headaches.   Please consult your health care provider immediately should you believe you suffered a concussion. If you have an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest  available emergency room. Doctors Imaging of Metairie cannot provide acute emergency care.

If you have an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest available emergency room. Doctors Imaging of Metairie cannot provide acute emergency care. In non-emergency situations, you should either schedule an appointment with your doctor or schedule an appointment for a follow up scan whereby the MRN neurologist will review your scan and provide feedback to you whether a concussion is found or not.  If the review of the scan determines a concussive event, you will be notified, and you should see your doctor immediately who will determine standard of care.  If you need a referral for a neurologist, Brain Safe Louisiana can assist.   Brain Safe Louisiana will provide up to three follow up scans in a subscription year.

Concussions have both short and long-term effects.   Repeated injuries to the brain, even if a person does not lose consciousness can accumulate over time.  A single concussive event dramatically increases the risk of a repeat concussion, and repeat concussions (e.g., within the same season) greatly increase risk of serious cognitive and neurological problems later in life.

We are studying the effects of head injuries over time and being able to compare a brain following a concussion to a healthy baseline in the same person is a really important step to understanding how concussion and TBI affects different people.

We want to provide you and your healthcare provider detailed information about injury-related changes in the brain to help parents and healthcare providers make return-to-play, -school, and –work decisions. Releasing a patient back to play or work too soon  increases the chance of suffering another brain injury and possibly increasing the risk of brain problems later in life.

Brain Safe Louisiana is a hybrid clinical/experimental research-based effort involving one of the most comprehensive professional organizations in the field of brain injury.  Our team has over 20 years of expertise that started at the Mind Research Network. To date, the Mind Research Network has collected and analyzed over 15,000 MRI scans as part of its research mission into brain development and health. They have also won grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and other federal and state funding agencies. Please review the section “Why Brain Safe Louisiana?”

We want to provide you and your healthcare provider detailed information about injury-related changes in the brain to help parents and healthcare providers make return-to-play, -school, and –work decisions. Releasing a patient back to play or work too soon  increases the chance of suffering another brain injury and possibly increasing the risk of brain problems later in life.

Yes, Brain Safe Louisiana must follow the guidelines with respect to patient confidential information. The data from your scan is fed from the Magnetic Resonance Imager through a dedicated file transfer protocol or FTP architecture.

Once someone in the program has a concussive event or TBI, that person will go to his or her doctor for treatment and evaluation. Upon the participants request, Mind Research Network can communicate with the patient’s doctor as he or she progresses through the follow up scans.

Yes, the Mind Research Network has trained neuroradiologists on staff to help interpret findings.  We have relationships with local physicians and healthcare providers as well.

If the participant wishes, Mind Research Network and its professional staff can communicate findings to your doctor should there be a finding of interest in your MRI scan.

Yes, we have Health Care Professionals that we can refer you to, but the choice is completely yours.

Yes, part of the mission for Brain Safe Louisiana is to better understand how to assess and predict the effects of concussion.   The Mind Research Network will use your de-identified (your name will not be attached to the data for research purposes) data to study the effects of concussions over time.

Everyone is unique.  Some people have head injuries and they seem to be okay over time while others do not recover to the same degree – even when the injuries appear to be about the same level of intensity or happen in the same place or happen at the same age.  Cataloguing these individual differences are important to understand how concussions affect people in general and also why people can be affected in different ways.

Your information will remain confidential and you may choose to re-enter the program anytime.

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