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Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) and traumatic brain injury.

A survey released by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) indicates that approximately 80 percent of survey respondents experience symptoms of an additional neurologic condition called pseudobulbar affect (PBA). PBA is thought to be caused by structural damage in the brain due to injury or disease and causes involuntary and unpredictable outbursts of laughing or crying, often in socially inappropriate situations.

In the fall of 2010, BIAA conducted a survey among the organization's constituents, including a range of people living with brain injury and caregivers. To complete the survey, the respondents were required to score a 13 or greater on the Center for Neurologic Study Lability Scale (CNS-LS), which assesses the presence and severity of PBA symptoms. Data demonstrate that nearly 80 percent  of the qualified respondents experience PBA episodes, with approximately half (48%) indicating that they are affected by PBA on a regular basis. Yet in stark contrast to the prevalence of this condition among respondents with brain injuries, only seven percent are aware of the term pseudobulbar affect.

"Many don't understand that a brain injury is only the beginning of an ongoing neurological disease," said Susan H. Connors, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Brain Injury Association of America. "Similarly, pseudobulbar affect is a misunderstood and under diagnosed, yet separate and treatable medical condition. Recognizing the complexities of these neurologic conditions and how they correlate helps to pave the way for improving quality of life among individuals with a brain injury."

 The survey also showed:

•PBA interferes extremely, very or somewhat often with everyday activities such as spending time with friends and family (62%), talking on the phone (47%), interacting with nurses or other healthcare professionals (44%), and dining out (38%).

•Six in ten of the respondents also indicate that PBA episodes have contributed to difficulty making and keeping friends.

•Four in ten say PBA episodes contributed to becoming housebound.

About Pseudobulbar Affect

Patients suffering from a serious neurologic disease or brain injury may also suffer the added burden of pseudobulbar affect (PBA). PBA is a neurologic condition caused by underlying structural damage in the brain which triggers involuntary, unpredictable and disruptive outbursts of laughing or crying. More than a million Americans suffer from PBA. You can obtain more information about PBA,  by visiting the PBA web site .   

 

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