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With increased seatbelt use, the number of head injuries suffered in car accidents has dropped. The use of front and now side impact airbags have also reduced the number and lessened the seriousness of these sometimes devastating injuries. However, many accident victims still experience concussions, especially in front end collisions. Neurologists will tell you a blow to the head is the most common cause, but a violent shaking can also do the trick. Sometimes the injuries manifest themselves on MRI scans, EEGs or other advanced brain scans. Sometimes the medical tests are completely normal. However, experts are in agreement normal medical testing does not rule out the possibility of a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). These subtle yet serious injuries can be difficult to diagnose. The typical family physician’s response to a mild concussion with normal medical testing is to warn the patient of signs to watch for but advise the symptoms should clear with time. Symptoms can include headaches, vision and balance disturbance, inability to concentrate, irritability, mood swings and forgetfulness. Multi tasking can be difficult as well. In a certain percentage of victims, the symptoms become chronic. Unfortunately, many insurance companies refuse to adequately compensate victims with these injuries. Without positive medical tests, insurance companies like to downplay the affect or suggest they may be related to stress or depression from other aspects of life. One way to muster proof of these injuries is through neuropsychological testing. A qualified neuropsychologist can conduct a battery of tests which can often provide proof of these subtle brain injuries. If you feel you may have suffered a MTBI, consider asking your physician for a referral.

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