Natasha Richardson Dies After Brain Injury
Brain Experts Weigh In on Natasha Richardson's Head Injuries From a Skiing Accident
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Does everyone need an MRI or CT brain scan after a head injury?
"I think most people would say that's probably overkill, since the kind
of situation that happened to [Richardson] is relatively rare," Grafman
says. "If you have symptoms ... then it's likely somebody would have a
scan. But if somebody is apparently symptom-free after a ding, it's not likely
they would have a scan."
Doctors would also perform a neurologic exam, checking on the patient's
mental status and whether they're confused or sleepy, as well as investigating
What are the symptoms of a brain injury?
Grafman's list of brain injury symptoms includes headaches, nausea, general malaise and
discomfort, seizures, changes in thinking, changes in memory, and changes in
attention or other mental skills.
"All those kinds of things are usually not too subtle if there's a big
problem that needs intervention," Grafman says. "For a milder head
injury that might cause some subtle symptoms, as often as not, CT scan or MRI is going to be negative.
You're not going to see anything" on the brain scan, he says.
After a fall -- even a little tumble -- make a point to be around other
"You don't want to isolate yourself," Grafman says. "You want to
be around other people who can see how you're doing."
Grafman isn't trying to be alarming. "I don't think there's any reason
to be excessively nervous," he says. "Don't be alone after something
like that happens, but you don't necessarily have to run to the ER unless you
Taylor also encourages people not
to let someone who's just had a head injury go to sleep.
"That's very important,
because if they do go to sleep, they can slip into unconsciousness, and
nobody's watching closely for various types of neurological symptoms,"
"If there are neurological
symptoms or discomfort or headache, don't be afraid to call
911," Taylor says.