The Gulf war signature injury is TBI and the numbers of injuries are large (approximately 300,000+) and the VA is having a hard time providing accurate ratings for this condition because is involves many complex areas of the rating code. The TBI association goal is to help veteran navigate the maze of rules surrounding TBI and help them obtain correct ratings for their head injuries
Currently, many patients are receiving a diagnosis and ratings for only a single PTSD psychological issue (see Eric Hunter ‘s case ABC news “Seven on your side” when in fact these patients really have over lapping signs/symptoms that stem from a major previously undiagnosed TBI. Many of these patients usually present with decreased cognition, headaches, vertigo and memory loss most of which has never been linked to a TBI. Many of the TBIs are in the mild to moderate category (80%) and these are not identified on routine MRI brain imaging because the MRI findings are subtle and not seen with the human eve.
A new technique called Neuroquant, is a single add on 10 minute MRI sequence that is compatible with 90% of MRI scanners, uses a computer analysis to assess the loss of whole brain volume/regional volumes to help better define each patient’s pathology. TBIs are medically rated within the VA as either levels 1-2-3 and total. Most patient’s with serious TBIs have difficulty working and thus usually qualify for VA unemployability (TDIU aka IU).
If you have any confusion about VA medical ratings TBIs please contact:
Craig N. Bash M.D., M.B.A. -- Associate professor -- Cell 240-506-1556