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August 10/24, 1998

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Toward Understanding Manifestations and Treatment

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Division of Neurorehabilitation, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Fla.

Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(15):1617-1624. doi:10.1001/archinte.158.15.1617

Mild traumatic brain injury is misleading as a diagnostic term, as it may include a spectrum of manifestations ranging from transient mild symptoms to ongoing disabling problems. It is a source of significant economic burden to society in terms of days lost from work and costs related to medical treatment. Symptomatic individuals will frequently present to primary care general medical practitioners days, weeks, or even months after the trauma. General medical practitioners are thus put in the position of being the "gatekeepers" of medical care for such patients and become responsible for appropriate determination and authorization of medical tests, specialized referrals, and treatment. The purpose of this article, which is based on a review of the literature to 1997, is to provide physicians with an understanding of mild traumatic brain injury, including manifestations and treatment, as it occurs commonly and can significantly impact the quality of life of those affected.