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Repercussions of brain injury may be hard to diagnose

Although readers of this Social Security disability blog have read recent stories about traumatic brain injury, they may be surprised to learn that one potential condition arising from repeated brain trauma -- chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- may not be possible to diagnose while an individual is alive.

According to researchers, CTE can be diagnosed with certainty only postmortem, after a patient has passed away. That presents a dilemma for doctors who might have treatments available for CTE. Symptoms of CTE often include a combination of cognitive impairments and mood and/or behavioral disorders.

Hopefully, a single incident of TBI will not develop into subsequent complications or permanent brain damage. However, as some research data suggests, the consequences of head trauma may not immediately manifest, and might be even more difficult to diagnose. For patients that have survived an accident involving TBI injuries, special care might be taken to observe any symptoms that do arise.

Documenting any subsequent symptoms may also be important in the event that an individual decides to apply for Social Security disability insurance benefits. SSDI payments can provide much-needed relief when a condition prevents an individual from working. For workers that have paid into the system and have a qualifying disability, SSDI payments may be available. However, an SSDI attorney might caution that the application process can be lengthy, with as many as two-thirds of initial applications denied. From filing claims to representation during an appeal of a denied claim, an attorney might prove to be an invaluable advocate.

Source: medpagetoday.com, "Behavior Changes Show Up Early in Traumatic Brain Injury," Charles Bankhead, Aug. 21, 2013

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