Posted by Diana Moon, DCoE Public Affairs on March 27, 2013
Health care providers understand that making the correct diagnosis is key to effective treatment and recovery. If you’re a provider, did you know that for your patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), there’s a fair chance you could overlook a diagnosis of neuroendocrine dysfunction (NED) post TBI? NED is a condition that can be tricky to diagnose because it has many symptoms in common with other conditions that co-occur with TBI, such as sleep disorders, depression, substance abuse disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Health care providers should be aware that because screening for NED is not performed routinely in the acute post-injury period, the dysfunction is under-diagnosed, under-treated and may affect the patient’s rate of recovery.
According to Therese West, subject matter expert with Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center clinical affairs division, research has noted that an estimated 15 percent of patients with mild TBI experience persistent symptoms, and the incidence of NED in those mild TBI patients ranges from an estimated 16 to 40 percent. Simply put, NED refers to a variety of conditions caused by imbalances in the body's hormone production. There are two areas of the brain responsible for regulating the production of hormones, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland; both are potentially vulnerable to traumatic brain injury.