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Diagnosis of Mild Head Injury and the Postconcussion Syndrome

Mittenberg, Wiley PhD; Strauman, Silvia MS

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: April 2000 - Volume 15 - Issue 2 - p 783–791
Forensic Neuropsychology

Mild head injuries can cause acute transient cognitive inefficiency that typically resolves within 3 months. Postconcussion syndrome may initially be related to acute cerebral dysfunction but can also arise as a psychological consequence of head trauma. The syndrome persists beyond 3 months in a significant number of patients with mild head trauma as a psychological disorder. International Classification of Diseases diagnostic criteria for postconcussion syndrome are currently recommended for clinical purposes. These criteria are contrasted with research diagnostic criteria used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The differential diagnosis of persistent cognitive and postconcussive symptoms in forensic practice is reviewed.

Professor, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (Mittenberg)

Graduate Student, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (Strauman)

Studies reviewed in this article were conducted in conjunction with Adult and Pediatric Trauma Services, Broward General Medical Center, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Address correspondence to Wiley Mittenberg, Nova Southeastern University, Center for Psychological Studies, 3301 College Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.