Post Concussion Syndrome, is a sequela of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). As you will note in this illustration, the brain suffers injury in instances when the head moves rapidly enough to allow the brain to move through its protective CSF fluid barrier, striking the inside bones of the cranium, even when the head itself does not strike an exterior object. The mechanism in the far right images are called a “coup contrecoup” injury.
The commonly used medical text, The Merck Manual, states the following about post-concussion syndrome:
“After a mild head injury, headache, dizziness, difficulty in concentration, variable amnesia, depression, apathy, and anxiety are common, more so than after severe head injuries. Considerable disability can result. The part played by organic brain damage is unclear. Recent careful studies suggest that even mild trauma can cause neuronal damage. Epidemiologic studies suggest that the incidence of post-concussion syndrome is unrelated to the potential for compensation for injury. The benefits of drug or psychiatric treatment are uncertain. Symptoms commonly persist after compensation claims are settled.”
In Whiplash Injuries: Cervical Acceleration / Deceleration Syndrome, Dr. Arthur Croft, one of the foremost experts on automobile injuries in the world, lists additional symptoms as follows:
“Headaches, dizziness, memory loss, inability to concentrate, sleep disorders, irritability, lightheadedness, vertigo or dizziness, neck pain, photophobia, phonophobia, tinnitus, easy distractibility, impaired comprehension, forgetfulness, impaired logical thought, difficulty with new or abstract concepts, easy fatiguability, apathy, outburst of anger, mood swings, depression, loss of libido, personality change and intolerance to alcohol.”
This condition, can be missed by doctors who are not adequately trained about standard definitions of Traumatic Brain Injury in place since the early 1990s. Since we deal with a large number of brain injuries, we have substantial experience handling as a post concussion syndrome lawyer. Based on the available medical research in this area, Dr. DeShaw has compiled a standard set of questions we ask every new client. Doctors and other lawyers regularly refer people with traumatic brain injuries to our office. Over 90% of all our clients meet the diagnostic criteria for some variety of traumatic brain injury like Post Concussion Syndrome, an often debilitating brain injury.
According to the scientific research, most post concussion symptoms resolve within seven months, and there is a period out to 24 months where it is considered possible to still make some mild improvements. After 24 months, residual symptoms are generally considered permanent damage. But, the expected period of improvement, and the likelihood of a person’s ability to improve subsequent to Post Concussion Syndrome, or any other type of Traumatic Brain Injury is largely dependent upon the region of the brain injured in the accident. Prior concussions can also lead to an increased risk of brain injury symptoms and an increased risk of permanent brain injury. Contrary to the insurance company doctors’ opinions, even the United States Center For Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health have stated that 15% of people with mild traumatic brain injuries have permanent symptoms.
Post Concussion Syndrome can be challenging for some doctors because it requires time and work to diagnose it. Conventional CT and MRI do not detect the injury because PCS is a cellular level injury and these devices are too crude currently to be able to detect the minute bleeding and damage which occurs in PCS. So, it is not unusual to have a completely normal CT or MRI study of your brain, and still have a mild traumatic brain injury.
In some cases (classified as “complicated mild traumatic brain injuries) high resolution 3T MRIs taken at 1mm slices can detect brain damage. Diffusion Tensor Imaging or “DTI” can also detect some mild traumatic brain injuries. In addition, researchers have been working on imaging to confirm the presence of mild traumatic brain injuries like Post Concussion Syndrome with only minor success within one month of the injury for PET and SPECT scans. These imaging methods have been successful as glucose uptake in the brain drops to coma levels in Post Concussion Syndrome patients even if their initial Glasgow Coma Score was maximum (15).
If you have a traumatic brain injury case, you need a lawyer who fully understands these conditions. Please feel free to call us today at (503) 227-1233 to set up your free consultation.