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Brain Injury Myths

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Brain Injury Myths
Sadly, there are a number of harmful and myths that are perpetuated by some insurance agencies and their defense attorneys. Knowing the facts can help save you money and your health after an accident.

Myth #1: Negative diagnostic tests such as MRI’s, CT-scans and PET scans rule out the possibility of a brain injury
Please keep in mind that normal imaging such as MRI’s, CT and PET scans are often neither specific or sensitive enough to detect damage to the delicate axonal fibers which can be torn, twisted, stretched and damaged as a result of physical trauma which often occurs in an automobile accident. New testing procedures such as MRI with diffuse tensor imaging (DTI) and susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) are far more specific and have proven to be more effective at illustrating even minor brain injuries.

Even if a patient/client has negative diagnostic testing it is imperative to pay close attention to the individual’s clinical presentation. If a patient/client presents with a number of signs of a closed head injury, Neuropsychological testing may be warranted. It is very possible to be suffering from a mild traumatic brain injury with negative diagnostic testing.

Myth #2: An individual must strike their head and lose consciousness to sustain a traumatic brain injury
This is absolutely not true. During an acceleration/deceleration event like an automobile accident, the head will be thrown in a rapid very violent manner. It is a widely accepted belief that during an acceleration/deceleration event, the brain may bounce off of the skull and then hit the other side. As a result the victim may suffer from a contrecoup injury. Contrecoup means the injury occurs to the opposite area. A coup injury would occur at the site of the impact. For instance, where the victim actually banged his/hear head against the steering column.

Keep in mind that the human brain has the consistency of pudding; the brain often continues moving after the head stops. Within the grey matter of the brain there are a myriad of nerve cells, which communicate with other distant nerve cells through fibers known as axons. Damage to the axonal fibers can result in symptoms that manifest as confusion, distraction and staying on task. Such individuals often experience difficulty with “executive functions,