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.
Brain Imaging after an Injury
CT and MRI scans are the most common imaging modalities to evaluate people with traumatic brain injury, but advanced imaging methods are more promising for diagnosis and prognosis. However, interpretations of findings can vary.
Treatment and Prognosis after a Concussion
Learn about treatments for post-concussion symptoms—including medication, various rehabilitation therapies, neuropsychology, and potentially some complementary therapies—as well as factors related to longer concussion recovery times.
Why is “Post-Concussion Syndrome” Controversial?
We do not yet have a clear understanding of what happens in the brain immediately after a concussion and over the days and months that follow, especially for those patients whose symptoms persist. Post-concussion symptom rates vary greatly among research studies, likely because the populations studied are diverse and so are the diagnostic criteria and timing of assessments. The wide variation in symptom rates highlights the fact that there is a lot we still don’t know about concussions.
Top Causes of Concussion in Children and Adolescents
When we think of “youth” and “concussion,” the first thing that likely comes to mind is a teenager engaging in a high-risk activity such as football, soccer, or snowboarding. But not all youth brain injury results from these risky activities. Of the millions of concussions reported by emergency rooms every year, figures put concussions related to sports and recreation at just 30% – so 70% of concussions result from other causes.
Is Concussion a Diagnosis?
Clinicians like me say that concussion requires a clinical diagnosis based on the history of what happened to produce the symptoms. However, because these same symptoms appear in other conditions, and we don’t have reliable biomarkers, diagnosing a concussion can sometimes be a challenge. The lingering effects of a mild brain injury can also continue as a chronic condition, often referred to as post-concussion syndrome or persistent post-concussion symptoms, that still require treatment.
3 Things to Do to Allow Your Brain to Recover More Quickly After Brain Injury
After a concussion, people need good sleep patterns, and they also need to resume activity and exercise to aid recovery. Activities with concussion risk should be avoided, however.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keep up to date
Get updates on the latest in concussion, brain health, and science-related tools from Dr. Elizabeth Sandel, M.D.