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FDA approves cognitive skills assessment tool

Many West Virginia residents who have been in car accidents or who have played contact sports have incurred traumatic brain injuries. Nationwide, over 2 million emergency room visits are the result of these types of injuries each year. Mild TBIs, which include concussions, are the cause of a large percentage of these trips to the hospital.

A patient's degree of cognitive impairment can vary depending on the severity of a traumatic brain injury. Now, a medical device for evaluating cognitive functioning after a head injury has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Doctors can use the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing device to determine whether a patient is showing any symptoms of a concussion.

The FDA approved ImPACT for medical use on Aug. 22 after reviewing hundreds of peer-reviewed articles and independent research studies. Researchers that tested ImPACT and ImPACT Pediatric were trying to determine whether the device's skills tests could reliably detect the type of cognitive dysfunction that is common with patients who have concussions. ImPACT is a software program that can operate on a laptop, desktop or tablet. The software tests a patient's ability to do things like react quickly, remember words and recognize words.

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can affect a person for many years and limit the victim's ability to enjoy life and earn a living. If a person's TBI was the result of an accident caused by another person's negligence, the injured party may find it advisable to sue the at-fault party for damages. An attorney can be of assistance by assessing the long-term financial consequences of the head injury and demonstrating that the defendant should be held responsible.

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