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Mt Sinai J Med. 1999 May;66(3):152-9.

Physiatric management of mild traumatic brain injury.

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  • 1Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.


Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is a common condition, afflicting as many as 1.5 million Americans yearly. Most individuals sustain MTBI as a result of motor vehicle collisions, but it may also occur as a result of falls, physical assault or sporting accidents. Problems related to MTBI include various pain syndromes, cognitive impairments, disorders of affect, cranial nerve dysfunction, and vertigo, arising from injury to the brain, head, or cervical spine. Symptoms are usually transient, although a small percentage of afflicted individuals develop long-lasting problems, often preventing them from leading productive lives. Recognition of these problems as arising from MTBI is difficult due to the frequent lack of abnormal findings on diagnostic tests and failure to identify a history of head trauma. The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine has defined MTBI, an important first step in identifying individuals who need treatment. Diagnosis is usually made by directed questions regarding trauma history and careful procurement and interpretation of appropriate tests. Once a diagnosis is made, proper care can be prescribed in order to lead patients toward more productive lives.

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