VIENNA, Va., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- About 80 percent of patients who suffer a brain injury experience symptoms of an additional neurologic condition -- pseudobulbar affect, a U.S. group says.
Susan H. Connors, president and chief executive officer of the Brain Injury Association of America, says pseudobulbar affect is thought to be caused by structural damage in the brain due to injury or disease. It causes involuntary and unpredictable outbursts of laughing or crying, often in socially inappropriate situations.
Last fall, the association conducted a survey among the organization's constituents -- 311 people living with brain injury and caregivers.
The respondents were required to score a 13 or greater on the Center for Neurologic Study Lability Scale, which assesses the presence and severity of pseudobulbar affect symptoms.
Eighty-one percent of survey respondents suffered traumatic brain injuries and 85 percent experienced moderate to severe injuries. Sixty-nine percent sustained a brain injury more than two years ago and the mean age of respondents was 42.
"Many don't understand that a brain injury is only the beginning of an ongoing neurological disease," Connors says in a statement.
"Similarly, pseudobulbar affect is a misunderstood and under diagnosed, yet separate and treatable medical condition. Recognizing the complexities of these neurologic conditions and how they correlate helps to pave the way for improving quality of life among individuals with a brain injury."