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Diagnostics

Learn about diagnostic evaluations of concussions and other brain injuries.

Young businessman with neck pain at work

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 population 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.

Close up of child with bandage over head wound

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.

Chiropractor checking neck injury of patient

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.

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.

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.

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.

Brain Injury Talk Radio

Shaken Brain with Dr. Elizabeth Sandel on Recovery Now with Kim Justus

Dr. Sandel discusses brain injury medicine, a new subspecialty of medicine, and getting the best care after a concussion or more severe brain injury in the US. Kim Justus discusses her own history in regards to brain injury and her struggles to find care. She also discusses Dr. Sandel’s book, Shaken Brain, as a helpful resource for listeners.

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