How neurological illnesses may influence work

The disability that a patient suffers is dependent on the symptoms and signs that the disease produces and not the disease itself. Certain disorders, and particularly brain injuries caused by a variety of pathologies, can lead to loss of function anywhere in the nervous system. The following headings provide a checklist to ensure comprehensive consideration of the key potential clinical aspects of a given neurological disorder. The physician should identify those clinical features that may be present, and actively seek to exclude their presence or assess the extent of any impairment in order to evaluate the occupational implications. Often it is not possible with brain disease to decide how much of the employee’s disability is physical and how much is psychological, and it may not always be helpful to attempt to separate them.

Higher cerebral functions

Many neurological diseases affect mental functions, but their influence on work depends very much on the job. A labourer, for example, can continue to work with a moderate or sometimes even a severe intellectual impairment, but an executive cannot. There are no guidelines that can be used universally and each case will need to be judged on its own merits.

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