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Mild Brain Injuries are Difficult to Detect: NY Times

A New York Times article, "War Veterans' Concussions Are Often Overlooked", NY Times, August 25, 2008 provides some good insight into the difficulties that survivors of mild traumatic brain injury have in obtaining treatment and benefits. 

The invisible injury characteristic of mild traumatic brain damage is masked by the fact that an individual appears to look and sound normal.  Even routine imaging tests (x-rays-,ct scans, mri's) fail to detect any brain pathology, yet persons who have had their brains rattled often times suffer from the post traumatic concussion syndrome with complaints of memory difficulties, concentration impairments, multi-tasking dysfunction, nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to loud noise or bright light, ringing in the ears, personality changes, anxiety or depression.

Here are some important quotes from the Times article:

These symptoms, which may be subtle and may not surface for weeks or months after their return, are often debilitating enough to hobble lives and livelihoods.

To this day, some veterans — it is impossible to know how many — remain unscreened, their symptoms undiagnosed. Mild brain injury was widely overlooked by the military and the veterans health system until recently.

Even now, with traumatic brain injury called the signature injury of the Iraq war, some soldiers and their advocates say that complications from mild concussions often are not recognized

These mild concussions, which do not necessarily lead to loss of consciousness, are easy to dismiss, simple to misdiagnose and difficult to detect. The injured soldiers can walk and talk. Their heads usually show no obvious signs of trauma. CT scans cannot see the injuries. And the symptoms often mirror those found in post-traumatic stress disorder, making it hard to distinguish between them. In fact, the two ailments often go hand in hand.

Any one suffering from the effects of a mild traumatic brain injury needs to download this article and show it to those who will doubt the validity of their complaints.

But the consequences of these seemingly small concussions can be far-reaching, leading to financial problems, job losses, divorce and mental health issues. The ramifications often go unseen by the military because symptoms often worsen once veterans leave the structure of the Army or Marine Corps for the unpredictability of civilian life.

You can download the full article by clicking here.

If you need legal assistance following a mild traumatic brain injury, information can be found at the brainlaw, legal site, sponsored by the New York Brain Injury Law Firm of De Caro & Kaplen, LLP. You can also view a legal guide to traumatic brain injury, prepared by New York brain injury attorney, Michael V. Kaplen.

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