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The Defense Rests: Attorney Recognition of Symptoms of Brain Injury

24 July 2009


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has received increased attention in the practice of law. However, information regarding whether or not attorneys recognize symptoms of brain injury is extremely limited. In this study, attorneys responded to an Internet-based questionnaire regarding symptoms that would cause them to refer defendants for an evaluation of competency to stand trial as well as their confidence in recognizing various mental health disorders. Results indicated that many attorneys were not confident in recognizing psychotic disorders, brain injury, or cognitive disorders. The primary causes of referral were delusions, hallucinations, disorientation, and flight of ideas. Results also indicated that psychotic symptoms were significantly more likely to be the basis for a referral than were TBI symptoms.


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