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Randall Benson


Session Title:  Diffusion Tensor Imaging


Randall R. Benson, M.D. is the only fellowship trained behavioral neurologist at DMC. He has been on the faculty at DMC and WSU since 2001 and is an active member of the teaching faculty, instructing medical students and residents in disorders of cognition and the use of neuroimaging in clinical practice and research.

After a neurology residency at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Boston VA Medical Center (Jamaica Plain), he completed a dual fellowship in cognitive/behavioral neurology and functional neuroimaging at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the MGH NMR-Center where he pioneered the use of functional MRI (fMRI) for the mapping of language and motor cortex in brain tumor and epilepsy patients. Recruited to the University of Connecticut Health Center in 1997 to direct a new functional imaging program, he teamed with internationally recognized researchers in reading and speech perception and the prestigious Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, CT to investigate the neural (brain) basis of speech recognition using fMRI. With the long-term goal of combining new brain mapping techniques such as fMRI with brain stimulation techniques to effect recovery in brain injured patients, Dr. Benson joined the faculty at WSU/DMC in 2001, where he has used fMRI, together with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electrical stimulation, to induce recovery of function in language and motor impaired stroke victims. In work funded by both the Dana and Wilson Foundations, Dr. Benson showed that focal TMS can improve language function in aphasia. In a separate study of hemiparetic stroke, Dr. Benson and colleagues at DMC/WSU showed that electrical stimulation of motor cortex can improve hand motor function.

A newer research and clinical interest for Dr. Benson is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Since coming to WSU/DMC, where there is a rich history of research and clinical management of TBI, Dr. Benson has spearheaded the use of new MRI techniques (e.g., DTI, SWI, PWI, MRSI, fMRI) to brain trauma which is often occult to clinical imaging. Dr. Benson and a large interdisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers (BLAST Consortium) are now fully engaged in studying both impact (NIH funded) and non-impact (blast) head injury, seeking to understand the biomechanical mechanisms, treatment and prevention of injuries.