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FDA Approves Software to Help Diagnose Traumatic Brain Injuries

by John Gomez | Last Updated: August 29, 2016
Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are a serious public health problem in the United States.  Medical professionals faced several challenges diagnosing traumatic brain injuries until relatively recently.  At this point, traumatic brain injuries are diagnosed more often, more accurately and earlier than ever before.  The FDA has approved what is hoped to be another step forward.  This approval concerns two new software programs that are designed to help diagnose traumatic brain injuries.

Hopefully these tools will identify patients who need help and who may not have had a serious injury properly diagnosed in the past.  As our understanding of brain trauma continues to develop, medical providers will be better able to treat the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries and the underlying physiological disruption. The advances in medical technology for diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries has been astounding over the 20 years. This will help survivors, doctors and attorneys alike to tackle this “silent epidemic.”

About the Software

ImPACT and ImPACT Pediatric are the names of these two new tools.  ImPACT stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing.  They are the first products of their kind to be approved by the FDA for assessing cognitive function following a potential concussion.  You can find a press release describing the product approval here.  These tests will be used as an aid in dealing with traumatic brain injuries.  As such, they will not be used to diagnose concussions alone.

Specifically, the software will measure patients’ ability to recognize words, his or her reaction time and word memory in general following head trauma.  Doctors will then compare the ImPACT results to a baseline for the patient.  However, if no individual baseline is available, the results will be compared to an age-matched control database.  ImPACT is to be used for patients between the ages of 12 and 59.  ImPACT Pediatric is designed for patients between the ages of 5 and 11.

Traumatic Brain Injuries in the United States

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, the following facts relate to the problem of traumatic brain injuries in the United States:

  • Traumatic brain injuries account for nearly 2 million emergency room visits in the United States every year.
  • Brain injuries result in 275,000 hospitalizations annually.
  • Severe head trauma leads to 52,000 deaths in the United States on an annual basis.
  • Concussions or other forms of what are known as MTBIs, or mild traumatic brain injuries, account for 75 percent of traumatic brain injuries in the United States.
  • Nearly 500,000 traumatic brain injury patients in the United States every year are 14 years old or younger.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

There are several troubling statistics regarding the causes of traumatic brain injuries in addition to the overall data relating to this injury.  Some of these troubling statistics include:

  • Falls are the most common cause of emergency room visits to treat traumatic brain injuries.
  • Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death because of traumatic brain injuries across the country.

The CDC also analyzed data from 2002 – 2006.  It found the following breakdown of causes of traumatic brain injury broken down by percentage:

  • Falls – 35.2 percent
  • Unknown/other – 21 percent
  • Motor vehicle accidents – 17.3 percent
  • Struck by/against – 16.5 percent
  • Assault – 10 percent

Consequently, all of this leads to the unfortunate conclusion that thousands of people suffer traumatic brain injuries every year in the United States because of the faulty actions of someone else.

How Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers Can Help

The traumatic brain injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys hope that more steps like this one are made on a regular basis.  The more we have available to help us diagnose these dangerous injuries, the better our outcomes will be going forward.  That hope aside, if you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury because of the negligent or reckless actions of someone else, you need to take steps to protect your legal rights in addition to obtaining the proper medical help.  Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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