Brain injury is often called an invisible injury. This is because no one can truly see its effects except for the victim. On the outside, they look fine. But they can be suffering psychological and mental issues that’s taking a toll on them.
In fact, even standard diagnostic testing sometimes can’t pick up the presence of a brain injury. This is because the damage to the axons in the brain is so small that it’s undetectable. But while it cannot be proved by a diagnostic study, the victims can suffer from permanently cognitive changes such as loss of memory, physical changes like headaches, and even emotional problems like depression.
So how do we prove it’s there? To help better understand it, let’s talk about the types of diagnostic studies.
Types of Diagnostic Studies
A CT scan is done in an emergency department once a patient arrives in a hospital and reports brain injury. This type of diagnostic study can pick up blood in the brain but it’s not sensitive enough to identify the small tears in a person’s brain cells that resulted from the brain injury.
A little bit more detailed than CT scans, MRI scans can pick up soft tissue instead of just blood. However, most MRI scans only have a 1.5 to 3.0 Tesla sensitivity. These are often not sufficient to pick up the small terms in the brain cells.
If a brain injury victim wishes to get an MRI scan, the best time would be nine to twelve months after the injury. This is because the small tears in the brain can be repaired overtime. But long-term injuries would warrant an MRI scan.
During a neuropsychological test, the patient takes a battery of written, spoken, and visual tests to find out what part of the brain is functioning and what part is not. This is recommended for brain injury victims 18 months after their injury to allow them to identify which problems are permanent and less transitory.
A lot of people recover after an 18 month period. But if the victims suffer ongoing cognitive, physical, and psychological problems for over 18 months, a neuropsychological evaluation can be helpful.
The Number One Objective Test
It’s difficult to prove a brain injury by means of a diagnostic test because chances are, these scans and testing methods may not be able to detect it. What lawyers typically do to prove brain injury is the test of life.
This type of test involves speaking to the people who know the victim and who can make a comparison of how the victim was before the injury and how they are now. These can yield stories that are helpful to the victim, proving that the injury took a toll on their physical, mental, emotional, and social health.