Understanding Head Injury Assessment Procedures

A study at the University of Birmingham reveals that a saliva test can predict head injury diagnostic results in 94% of brain injury cases, according to a report on The Independent. The test developed by researchers using biomarkers present in the saliva is a game-changer in detecting brain injuries. Dr. Valentina Di Pietro, the staff physician at the University of Birmingham, said, “A non-invasive yet accurate assessment test using saliva may be an invaluable device for health experts to detect concussions accurately and consistently.” Valentina adds that clinicians may use this diagnostic device alongside current procedures and resume play evaluation to ensure players are safe in professional sports. The research team also confirmed the test could be used in healthcare and military settings. To understand head injury assessment, read on to learn more about diagnosing common brain injuries people experience. 

Initial Assessment 

This method relies on standardized tools like Acute Concussion Evaluation or ACE and the sport’s concussion tool. These instruments offer a systematic approach to evaluate an individual with traumatic brain injury. Health experts use these tools to collect details about different brain injury symptoms, such as amnesia or memory loss, headaches, and seizures. They will also evaluate other symptoms affecting mental, physical, and emotional health. Using the Acute Concussion Evaluation tool helps doctors assess symptoms recovery. This tool also evaluates factors like headaches and concussions that may affect recovery speed.

Neuropsychological Evaluation

Neuropsychological assessment entails performing cognitive tasks to evaluate concentration and memory level, problem-solving abilities, and ability to process information. To get accurate results, physicians use the Glasgow Coma Scale to analyze a patient’s consciousness after a brain injury. This tool enables doctors to rate a person’s ability to talk, move, and open eyes within a 15-point score. For example, a score of 13-15 indicates mild brain injury, 3-8 translates to severe brain damage, and 9-12 shows moderate injury. The results obtained through neuropsychological tests come in handy during head injury claim cases. This is because they provide clear evidence of TBI’s impact on the plaintiff’s cognitive and physical functions.

Neurodiagnostic Imaging

Physicians scan the brain if they detect the possibility of a traumatic brain injury after physical examinations or based on an individual’s physical symptoms. Imaging tests include computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. During a CT or computerized tomography scan, physicians take multiple x-rays from different angles of the brain. This tactic helps physicians create a complete picture of the brain to detect fractures, bleeding, and swelling. On the other hand, magnetic resonance imaging or MRI relies on radio waves and magnets to provide detailed information a CT scan might have missed. However, doctors don’t use MRI scans during initial examination but as follow-up tests.

Head injuries can occur after a fall or automobile accident. Note that a brain injury may result in disabilities and sometimes death. That is why experts recommend assessing and managing head injuries immediately after an accident. To detect a TBI, a physician will perform an initial and neuropsychological assessment and imaging tests.