Author Archive

Elizabeth Sandel

Elizabeth Sandel, MD, is a nationally and internationally recognized concussion specialist who has been helping brain injury patients for more than three decades. Board-certified in both Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) and Brain Injury Medicine (BIM), Dr. Sandel has conducted extensive research on concussions and other brain injuries. She now shares her expertise and raises awareness about the risks and effects of this common but often misunderstood injury, and the best practices for care. Her recent book "Shaken Brain: The Science, Care and Treatment of Concussion" helps readers understand causes of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, the possible long-term consequences, and the latest treatments available.

Woman looking pensively from apartment

Mood Disorders Such as Depression Can Complicate a Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury can be associated with depression or another mood disorder, possibly because of the disruption of brain chemicals.

Patient-Centered Approach to Concussion Care: CME & Webinar

A Patient-Centered Approach to Concussion Care: CME & Webinar

Elizabeth Sandel, MD, a physiatrist and brain injury medicine physician, and Conor Gormally, co-founder of Concussion Alliance — a young man who has experienced several concussions — present a patient-centered care approach for emergency medicine and primary care physicians.

pituitary / brain

How Does Brain Trauma Affect Brain Hormones?

Evaluating and treating people with hormonal deficiencies after traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be very challenging. Learn about the screening and treatment of pituitary deficiencies that may occur in both the acute and chronic stages after a concussion or other TBI.

Mother and smiling daughter in doctor's office

Will My Child Experience Long-Term Consequences from a Concussion or other Brain Injury?

Although most children recover fully after a single concussion, others have long-term effects. Of course, prevention is the best strategy, but if a concussion occurs, parents must understand a brain injury has occurred.

X-ray of child and headache

How Long Will It Take for My Child to Recover from a Concussion?

Children can experience a range of symptoms after concussion. They require individualized treatments and strategies for returning to activities and to school. A physician with training and experience in treating concussions must provide early interventions and follow-up, regardless of how long recovery takes.

Pocket Guide Featured Image

Self-Reported Concussion Symptoms are Key to Evaluation & Diagnosis

To properly diagnose a concussion and devise a treatment plan requires a thorough physician evaluation, a symptom checklist or an interview, or both, followed by a comprehensive cognitive and physical examination. Download a pocket guide that helps patients prepare for being evaluated.

Child sitting in the corner of a room

Abuse: A Leading Cause of Brain Injury in Children

Child abuse is a top cause of brain injury-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths among children of all ages. Diagnosis can be challenging in cases of pediatric abusive head trauma. Prevention strategies at the individual and community level can be effective and there are many available resources.

Pills and capsules

Opioids Cause Problems After a Brain Injury

Stories of opioid-related disability and death are in the news frequently because of a surge in the use of these substances over the past few decades. For people with a history of brain injury, including concussions, the risks of using opioids are higher than for those without this medical history. Learn about the benefits and dangers of these substances, some of which are not only legal but widely prescribed for acute and chronic pain.

disorders of consciousness

Coma and Other Disorders of Consciousness

What happens to the brain after a severe brain injury that renders a person unconscious or “comatose”? Learn the meaning of other terms that describe patients who have disorders of consciousness: the minimally conscious state, cognitive-motor dissociation, covert consciousness, and unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (vegetative state). Researchers are studying advanced technologies evaluating patients with disorders of consciousness, and there are new U.S. and European guidelines that are helping to standardize care and advance the field of brain injury.

Woman helps elderly woman who fell

Falls and Brain Injury in Older Adults

Traumatic brain injuries are very common in older adults who fall. They can result in hospitalization, death, or disability especially in this age group and those on certain medications. In this post, an elderly woman has a delayed hematoma from an injury that could have been deadly. Falls can be prevented and Dr. Sandel shares important information about risk factors and tips for prevention.

CTE: Areas of Tau Protein Development

Repetitive Brain Trauma and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

There’s a link between chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and repetitive brain injuries that occur in boxing and American football. This is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that can lead to severely-disabling neurologic and psychiatric disorders. Learn about the science, diagnostic criteria for traumatic encephalopathy syndrome (TES), and possible treatment approaches.

woman with PCS symptoms listed

What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

I recently talked with journalist Nathaniel Parish Flannery who writes about cycling. He was writing an article about pro cyclist Ian Boswell. Boswell had a crash in 2019 that resulted in long-term concussion symptoms. Flannery found our conversation and my book, Shaken Brain, very helpful, and he tells Boswell’s story in…

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