My husband just had an MRI w/wo contrast because of his memory loss and closed head trauma. While serving in the military he was "blown up" many times and has had multiple concussions. He has daily headaches and his short term memory is getting worse. He is 36. His maternal grandmother died due to complications from alzheimer's disease. His MRI has "scattered, punctate foci of FLAIR signal hyperintensity in the bihemispheric subcortical white matter" what does this mean? Thank you!
Hi Cinjas and welcome. It sounds scary, but not necessarily bad. punctate foci means very very small points on the MRI that show different that the surrounding area. These can come from trauma or disease, among other things. Because this is on both sides of his brain (that's what I think of when I read bihemispheric) I would venture a guess that they are talking a more evenly distributed pattern, which would not fit the description of MS lesion loads in my thinking. BUT I am no medical expert.
I am so sorry that he emerged from serving our country with these types of problems. We hve several vets herre who can be of help to you in navigating the system for benefits.
Please feel free to ask all the questions you think of - we do have several people here who are well versed in MRI technology.
> "scattered, punctate foci of FLAIR signal hyperintensity in the bihemispheric subcortical white matter"
Essentially a hyperintensity is how the radiologist refers to a white spot. The white spot indicates that the tissue has more water in it than the surrounding tissue, meaning that it's injured. The FLAIR sequence is best for showing things that are close to fluid areas (like the ventricles.)
It looks like we're taking head trauma more seriously than we used to. There's too many people turning up with neurological problems because of repeated head injury - boxers, football players, military...
I don't want to give you false hope, but neurological damage can heal. It takes a long time - anywhere from three months to 7 years. But the brain can be retrained to think around the deficiencies.
Sorry to say that this is pretty common in vets. Post-concussion syndrome is becoming an issue for the VA and Military. In many cases it is a medical retirement issue for vets within 7 years of separation. He needs to get this documented with the VA.
While the brain can heal itself, there are many military and prior service personnel out there that have on going issues related to post-concussion syndrome (some also have a comorbid PTSD.)
Along with the t2 hyperintensities, there may be changes in brain volume over time. Always keep copies of the MRI disks and any other medical results. If he is out of the service now, he should make an appointment with the VA and bring a copy of the study, if this was done by a Neurologist outside the Military/VA health system. This can change the rate or possibly qualify him for additional VA benefits.
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