23 Nov 2012

People with brain injuries advised to see GPs

8:43 pm on 23 November 2012

People with potential brain injuries are being advised to see their doctors to prevent them missing ACC cover and GPs are being urged to improve their training in diagnosing brain injury.

A new study of traumatic brain injuries has for the first time revealed the true occurrence of the issue by showing how many people have undiagnosed damage to the brain.

The Auckland Brain Injury Association says people should see a doctor for any knock to the head which may cause them to see stars or experience dizziness and GPs also need to get better at diagnosing brain damage.

A trauma specialist says the study is significant because it collates those with severe and moderate brain injuries for the first time and reveals the extent of the problem.

The study published in international medical journal The Lancet shows the rate of brain injuries in New Zealand has reached epidemic proportions with more than 36,000 new cases each year.

Waikato hospital trauma director Grant Christey told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme the study has identified a group which has never been clearly identified - those who just seek minimal medical help but whose injury may become severe later in life.