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Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Megan Kruth, a triathlete, is set to race again after a life-changing injury on August 4, 2013 when she flew off of her bicycle, fracturing her collarbone, skull and ribs

Triathlete Overcomes TBI, Brain Network Model Aims to Differentiate Brain Injuries

Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Megan Kruth, a triathlete, is set to race again after a life-changing injury on August 4, 2013 when she flew off of her bicycle, fracturing her collarbone, skull and ribs

Triathlete Overcomes TBI, Brain Network Model Aims to Differentiate Brain Injuries
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Megan Kruth, a triathlete, is set to race again after a life-changing injury on August 4, 2013 when she flew off of her bicycle, fracturing her collarbone, skull and ribs. Kruth was wearing a helmet that split open when it struck the pavement.

Kruth was left in a coma following the incident and underwent brain surgery to remove a bone flap so that the pressure in the brain could be relieved.

Her health, youth and the speed of the ambulance worked in her favor to save her life. The athlete had to undergo months of therapy to learn how to talk, walk and swallow again. She will be participating in a race for the first time since her accident this Saturday.

She will swim 2.4 miles in the Atlantic Ocean in Turks and Caicos. Kruth is a 17-time All-American collegiate swimmer who will re-enter the water in a competitive atmosphere for the first time in over 1,400 days.

Kruth's story doesn't end there. The athlete is using the event to raise money for the Allegheny Health Network Neuroscience Institute.

Her journey had several setbacks along the way, with Kruth suffering from a seizure shortly after leaving rehab.

The news comes less than a week after ScienceDaily announced a new network model that is used to help doctors and scientists to better understand the differences in brain injuries. The study, published by PLOS Computational Biology, explains that the body and brain's response to brain injury has a large range depending on the injury's location.

"TBIs cause a substantial number of permanent disabilities each year and a third of all injury-related deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," explains Sawaya Law Firm, a firm that specializes in TBI injury cases.

The study researches the brain's network and explains that the brain's region doesn't operate in complete isolation.

Diffusion-Tensor MRI was used to investigate patterns in the brain's network, with the group finding that the influence of lesions on the brain's eigenmodes are sensitive to the site of the lesion. Lesions in the center of these pathways had the most influence on network eigenmodes.

The model looked specifically at a disease where the connection between the right and left hemisphere is missing. Those that suffer from this disease fare much better than persons that have their corpus callosum, or the area connecting the brain's hemispheres, removed surgically.

The research opens up the discussion of the brain's network as being a "small world" that has efficient communication capacity and is highly modular. The "modules" are seen in terms of importance, with some being critical "hubs" for connecting different modules, while others are of less importance.

Evidence provided via the study expresses that the importance of understanding eigen-decomposition.

The data helps scientists further understand the area of brain damage impact and how it will impact the life of the victim. Kruth's brain injury may have been positioned in just the right spot that allowed her to fight back from her brain injury, and return to a life of normalcy following the life-threatening accident.

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