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A condition that causes loss of vertigo perception and imbalance has been diagnosed in traumatic brain injury patients for the first time.
In a clinical study led by researchers at Imperial College London and clinicians at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, out of 37 patients with acute traumatic brain injury (TBI), fifteen were diagnosed with a newly characterized neurological diagnosis called vestibular agnosia – a condition in the brain which results in loss of vertigo perception and imbalance.
The team also found that these patients have worse balance problems than TBI patients without vestibular agnosia and are unlikely to experience dizziness – one of the main criteria to assess balance problems in TBI patients. As a result doctors are seven times more likely to miss cases of balance dysfunction in TBI patients with vestibular agnosia than in those without.
This small study is the first to show vestibular agnosia in TBI patients and the researchers believe that current guidelines should be updated to include screening and laboratory tests for TBI patients for vestibular agnosia so that it can be diagnosed and managed at an earlier stage.