Why Brain Safe Louisiana?

Brain Safe Louisiana builds upon more than 20 years of research at the Mind Research Network (MIND).  The MIND combines multi-modal imaging and neuro-informatics in its analysis of concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Data is analyzed using complex computer algorithms to determine injury and severity of a concussive event.  The data analyses is used to help inform return-to-play, return-to-school and return-to-work is advisable. 

Concussions and other forms of mild traumatic brain injuries account for approximately 1.275 million, or 75% of the traumatic brain injuries in the United States. 

A single concussive event dramatically increases the risk of a repeat concussion, and repeat concussions (e.g. within the same season) greatly increases the risk of cognitive and neurological problems later in life.

Brain Safe uses modern imaging technologies to allow us to see elements of the brain changes from concussive events.

Brain Safe Louisiana Protocols

The protocols of Brain Safe Louisiana include the following imaging to determine the health and changes in the participant’s brain.

Structural MRI

Structural MRI is a non-invasive technique for examining the physical structure of the brain. We collect several different types of brain structure, known as T1-weighted and T2-weighed images.  Unlike CT scans or X-rays, MRI does not use radiation.

Diffusion Tensor Imaging – DTI

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is a technique that can reveal microscopic details about normal and diseased tissue in the brain.  It can reveal abnormalities in white matter (i.e., the wiring of the brain) and provide models of brain connectivity.

Functional MRI - fMRI

Functional MRI (FMRI) is a type of MRI scan where we can measure brain activity by changes in the blood flow.  Just like muscles in the body, when an area of the brain is active, changes in blood flow in that region increases.  The brain functions as a set of units or networks.  We study how each of these networks communication with one another and how injury (i.e., concussion) disrupts these networks.  

MRI Angiography

This technique maps the blood vessels in the brain so we can check whether the flow into and out of the brain in working normally.

Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI).   This technique helps to understand if their has been a bruise to the brain from an injury.  Bruising to the brain is associated with shifts in iron composition in the brain.  

Putting It All Together

One of the most unique aspects of the Brain Safe approach is the use of advanced data analytic methods pioneered by MRN scientists. The Brain Safe Louisiana research project applies unique brain imaging analysis methods to study concussions in athletes BEFORE and AFTER injury.

Incidental Findings

Part of the benefit of Brain Safe Louisiana research project is locating potentially dangerous but unknown existing injuries.

The MIND will maintain the participant’s scans for comparing and contrasting images between time points. 

Brain Safe Louisiana is conducted in collaboration with Doctor’s Imaging of Metairie, Louisiana.

Doctor’s Imaging utilizes a Siemens 3T MRI and has included a patient entertainment system for the comfort of the MRI – Brain Safe Louisiana experience.


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