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Brain at the breaking point

Study that stretched and strained neural connections could yield insights into traumatic injury

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1:12pm, February 20, 2010

SAN DIEGO — Rigid pathways in brain cell connections buckle and break when stretched, scientists report, a finding that could aid in the understanding of exactly what happens when traumatic brain injuries occur.

Up to 20 percent of combat soldiers and an estimated 1.4 million U.S. civilians sustain traumatic brain injuries each year. But the mechanics behind these injuries have remained mysterious.

New research, described February 19 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, suggests exactly how a blow to the brain disrupts this complex organ.

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