High-definition fiber tracking is new brain imaging technology that processes a brain scan through computer algorithms to show the complex wiring of the brain. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
What seemed like harmless fun riding ATVs with friends took a turn for the worse when Daniel Stunkard was thrown from the vehicle and hit the road. Stunkard wasn’t wearing a helmet at time, and ended up in a coma for three and a half weeks. When he woke up, he was partially paralyzed. “The [nerve] fibers that controlled my arm were 67 percent missing and the fibers that controlled my hand were 97 percent missing,” Stunkard said. Stunkard, who was treated at UPMC, suffered from Traumatic Brain Injury. For more than 90 percent of TBI cases, no existing method can detect the exact areas of the brain that are damaged. But Walter Schneider — a psychology professor at Pitt and neurosurgery professor at UPMC — developed a method to combat this problem.