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Maryland brain injury: Difficult to diagnose

For many Maryland residents with symptoms that include forgetfulness, headaches and sensitivity to light and sound, finding the culprit to these sometimes debilitating annoyances can be time-consuming and costly. Most cases stem from some sort of brain injury, whether due to an accident or at the hands of another. Roughly two million Americans suffer from some form of traumatic brain injury each year. The lasting disabilities and general medical aftereffects can be devastating.

Injury to the myelin sheath, which covers the microscopic brain cells, is not always picked up on an electroencephalogram and is rarely caught on most common medical scans. The disruption to the damaged cells can cause emotional and physical symptoms that can often go undiagnosed. The presenting symptoms, when expressed to a physician, are usually misdiagnosed as allergies, depression and behavioral issues.

Neuropsychologists are suggesting that doctors use a more all-encompassing approach to testing patients who come in with symptoms that may be the result of a TBI. The test, Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery, examines four areas that will help to narrow down the damage and possibly help to diagnose TBI. Cognitive ability, right-left comparison, patterns and skill level help to determine the extent of the injury and allow for treatment.

In cases where there has been obvious blunt force trauma to the head, such as car accidents, athletic accidents, etc., doctors usually check for TBIs and treat or refer appropriately. In other cases, such as a fall out of a chair or tripping over a child's toy, can lead medical professionals down another path to diagnosis. This path can lead to years of unanswered questions and frustration. If a Maryland resident has suffered from a traumatic brain injury at the hands of another, the victim could seek compensation from the tortfeasor in civil court. If awarded, the monies could help to cover medical costs, lost wages as well as pain and suffering.

Source: hernandosun.com, "Traumatic Brain Injury: A Silent Epidemic", Gary LeBlanc, April 22, 2017

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