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Unleashing the power of physics: Advancing Brain Damage Treatment

The odd couple


Biology and physics have long been referred to as the odd couple throughout

scientific history. When looked at from an outsider's lens biology and physics

seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum and their seemingly awkward

relationship causes the townspeople to whisper. However, upon closer

examination, physics reveals itself as a fundamental explanation for many

biological processes. While biology provides the context, it is physics that

delves into the underlying mechanisms and basic principles governing these

intricate functions. Like a dynamic duo, when biology poses a question, physics

stands ready to unravel the intricacies and depths of the answer.


At the core of the brain's operations are electrical and chemical signals.

Neurons, the building blocks of the brain, communicate through electrical

impulses called action potentials. Picture nerves as wires and impulses are

current. With the nerves transmitting impulses through your body. These

electrical signals arise from the movement of charged ions across the neuronal

cell membranes. All these functions help the brain control the whole body and

represent a perfect example of how behind the scenes of every operation lies

physics.


Introduction to TBI


Traumatic brain injuries (BI) have emerged as a leading global cause of death

in recent years, affecting both civilian populations and military personnel. This

condition disrupts normal brain function and represents a critical concern in

the realm of global public health. TBl is characterized by brain dysfunction

resulting from external forces, often involving violent blows to the head. It is

an unexpected injury that inflicts harm on the brain, leading to severe and

challenging-to-treat long-term symptoms, including depression and headaches.


Brain damage refers to the impairment or injury to brain tissue which can lead

to disruption in vital functions and processes like the communication between

neurons. Neurons continuously receive, process, and integrate information

from the whole body, including the brain, and send out signals to other

neurons and cells. Unfortunately, Neurons do not work in isolation; they form intricate circuitry, the function of which is directly or indirectly influenced by all

other cellular components of the brain tissue. So when trauma is inflicted on

the brain it affects entire neuronal circuitry by causing the death of neurons

and glial cells and destroying connections between them. This includes the

cellular extensions (dendrites and axons) through which neurons receive and

emit signals employing molecules called neurotransmitters.

This disruption can interfere with the transmission of electrical signals

between neurons, hindering the brain's ability to process information and

coordinate bodily functions.


Physics saves the day


Since the brain is the electrical chamber of the body what better way to

remedy various neurological and psychiatric conditions than by looking into

physics-based treatments? One of the widely successful treatments on the rise

is TMS (Transcranial magnetic stimulation). This treatment relies heavily on the

two core principles of physics: electricity and magnetism. It is a non-invasive

treatment that involves using a magnetic coil to influence your brain's natural

electrical activity. In the context of TBI, TMS has been investigated as a

potential treatment to improve cognitive functions, motor skills, and emotional

regulation.


As we have previously discussed the brain works by sending and receiving

electrical signals throughout the body and when there is trauma done to the

brain the neuronal circuitry is damaged. TMS combines magnetism and

electricity to solve this issue. A device called a TMS coil is placed on the scalp.

An electric current passes through this insulated wire generating a magnetic

field. Basic physics says, when you bring a magnet near something that

conducts electricity, the interaction between the two objects generates

an electric current. The electricity that is produced can either excite or inhibit the

activity in the activity of neurons in the targeted brain region, depending on

the frequency of the electric current. In addition, TMS is thought to modulate

neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to reorganize and adapt. By stimulating

specific brain areas, TMS may facilitate changes in synaptic connections and

neural network activity, potentially promoting recovery and functional

improvements after brain injury.


Every treatment has its pros and cons and MS isn't an exception to this.

The benefits of TMS are that it is very effective and safe as the majority of the

patients recover without the risk of other major side effects like stroke and

seizures. With less than 0.01% of patients suffering seizures for each session. It

is also noninvasive as it is not a surgical procedure and you can go about your

day once your session ends. Lastly, TMS works well alongside other treatment

techniques like medication and mental health therapies.

There are not many drawbacks when it comes to MS treatment and it is easy

to stay that its pros overweight its cons. Even as I say all this TMS still comes

with its dangers. As we know the main component of TMS is the use of

magnetic fields. Strong magnets like the ones used in this treatment cause

major risks to patients with metal implants inserted above the shoulders.

Because of this, it is available to a limited audience.


It's important to note that the use of TMS for TBI is still in the early stages of

research, and its efficacy as a standalone treatment or in combination with

other therapies is still being explored. The effects of MS can vary depending

on the individual, the severity of the brain injury, and the specific TMS

parameters used.


Conclusion


After a long evaluation, I have concluded that the odd couple of biology and

physics have proven to be a formidable force in the realm of the complicated

antics of the brain. Understanding the physics behind the brain's electrical

activity and processes has led to innovative therapies like TMS, which harness

the core principles of physics: electricity and magnetism to stimulate brain

function.

Continued research and interdisciplinary collaboration between physics and

biology will undoubtedly pave the way for further advancements in brain

damage treatment, ultimately improving the quality of life for individuals

affected by neurological conditions.



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