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Monday, February 26, 2024 | Back issues
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Brain Injury Studies|Prompt VA Rule Changes

WASHINGTON (CN) - In response to studies about the connections between traumatic brain injuries and illnesses like dementia and Parkinson's, the Department of Veterans Affairs proposed changes to its regulations for diagnosable illnesses.

In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine published a report about the long-term consequences of traumatic brain injuries.

The report found there was "sufficient evidence of a causal relationship" between traumatic brain injury and diagnosed unprovoked seizures.

It also concluded that there is "sufficient evidence of an association" between traumatic brain injury and Parkinson's disease, dementia, depression, and hormone deficiencies.

After reviewing the report, which was based on a number of studies, the VA determined a change to its regulations was needed.

The VA proposes adding five diagnosable illnesses as secondary conditions to traumatic brain injuries: Parkinsonism, unprovoked seizures, dementias (including pre-senile dementia like Alzheimers and post-traumatic dementia), depression, and diseases of hormone deficiency resulting from hypothalamo-pituitary changes.

The report also found associations between traumatic brain injury and certain behavioral and social problems, such as aggressive behavior, long-term unemployment and premature death.

The VA did not see a need to amend its regulations in connection to those effects, but noted that those effects may be considered in evaluating conditions for compensation purposes.

The VA established a set of factors and criteria for classifying traumatic brain injuries as mild, moderate, or severe.

The public can submit comments to the VA before February 8.

To learn more, click the document icon for this regulation and others.

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