The April 2017 issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma reports on a new study about post-concussion syndrome.
The study followed 110 patients who had post-concussive syndrome symptoms for more than three months, and the findings were stunning. Of those patients, only 27% made a full recovery. Of the 27% who made a recovery, 67% made a recovery within the first year. And no one who had symptoms over three years ever made a complete recovery.
For those groups that didn’t recover, the continuing symptoms (in order of frequency) were:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dazed/don’t feel right/in a fog
- Pressure in the head
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty remembering events
- Neck pain
- Sensitivity to noise
- Insomnia/sleep disturbance
- Feeling slowed down
- Noise in the ears
- Vision changes
- More emotional
- Increased sensitivity to alcohol
- Personality changes
- Vivid dreams
- Panic attacks
- Stomach ache
- Loss of appetite
- Slurred speech
These findings are significant to our brain injury cases.
Most insurance companies argue that brain injuries typically heal themselves and symptoms disappear after six months or a year. The insurance companies use that argument to reduce the value of the claim.
This study refutes that. If a client has had symptoms lasting more than three months, then this study is evidence that the client will likely never make a full recovery. Obviously, if an injury is permanent then the value of the case is higher.
The study is also interesting because it has a good list of symptoms of a brain injury. It’s important for people to know these symptoms to help them recognize when they might have a brain injury.
Another interesting fact was the distribution of the symptoms. Generally, post concussion syndrome has three classes of symptoms:
- Cognitive symptoms — affect your thinking
- Affective symptoms — affect your mood (depression, irritability, etc)
- Somatic symptoms — separate symptoms (headaches, light sensitivity, etc).
The study found that the persisting symptoms were quite evenly distributed between the three classes of symptoms.
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