Early diagnosis of brain damage is key for recovery | Neuroscience

Simon Hattenstone’s article (‘I have a hunch I was left damaged’, 13 March) about his experience of encephalitis in childhood, his recovery and his concerns, as an adult, of residual brain damage struck a chord with me as a neuropsychologist and as a mother. Our daughter was born with a brain abnormality in her occipital lobe that left her with visuospatial deficits that affect her to this day, 30 years later. We feel lucky that her neurological condition was identified during the perinatal period, so we were able to access assessment and remediation from an early age.

Brain damage incurred during prenatal and early childhood development is often underestimated and can remain unrecognised until problems become apparent in adolescence or young adulthood. I remember the words of our paediatric neurologist: “If you are going to have brain damage, it’s best to have it as early as possible.” His words appear to have held up, and I am very glad to see that Simon has made such a remarkable recovery.
Dr Annie Hickox

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