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Brain injury in court

Posted by Margaret Donohue on June 16, 2019 at 3:00 PM

The vast majority of neuropsychologists publishing research on brain injury in the United States appear to have some connection to insurance companies.  So the research they tend to publish minimizes the impact of repetitive brain injury, the apparent delay in symptom onset from time of injury, the impact of whiplash without loss of consciousness and correlation to brain injury.  What they focus on is estimates of effort and use a population of individuals simulating brain injury in college students as a "deceptive group."  This creates incorrect data about brain injuries that are then believed by physicians, neurologists, neuropsychologists, and psychologists in general.

MYTHS:

1. Brain injuries completely recover in a few days to a few months.  All brain injuries such as concussion completely resolve in 6 months.

2. Low impact crashes with whiplash only do not result in concussion or brain injury.

3. People complaining of ongoing symptoms are either faking, exaggerating, have a mental illness, or something else is wrong besides their brain injury.

4. Neuropsychological testing for brain injury requires multiple measures of malingering, effort and attempts to fabricate their presentation.

FACTS:

1. A lot of brain injuries with mild concussion completely recover with no residual symptoms, but about 20% have ongoing symptoms.

2. Following an injury or accident symptoms can occur as long as 96 hours post accident or injury.

3. Neuropsychological testing is expensive.  The use of testing time to document exaggeration or effort is better spent looking at functional ability and limitations.  The testing should match the symptoms, and be consistent with the history and medical records.  If the testing doesn't match the history THEN do testig for malingering and effort.

4. Brain injuries cause psychological difficulties.  In addition if someone has pre-existing depression, anxiety, or other symptoms of mental illness the brain injury will complicate coping and response to treatment.

5. A very small percentage of people that have sustained a brain injury will go on to develop a malignant leision in that area of the brain or an autoimmune disorder.  We are currently researching that population.  If you or a family member has developed an autoimmune disorder or any form of brain cancer after a traumatic brain disorder or concussion, I'm interested in hearing from you.  Please drop me an email Donohuema1@me.com.

Categories: Brain Injury

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