On the use of medical records for characterizing brain lesions

Margaret Lehman Blake*, Annette Baumgaertner

*Corresponding author for this work


In studies of neurogenic communication disorders, medical records commonly are used to characterize brain lesions, to make decisions regarding participant inclusion, and to draw general conclusions regarding brain-behavior relationships. The validity of using existing medical records has not been directly evaluated. The purpose of this article is to draw attention to the potential problems with relying exclusively on medical records to characterize neurological lesions. Examples from a study of language in adults with right hemisphere brain damage are used to highlight discrepancies between imaging reports taken from existing medical records and structural images obtained at the time of the study. The discussion of factors that may contribute to discrepancies between the imaging reports includes the scanning method and protocol used, interrater reliability for reading neuroradiologic images, the effect of time, and neurological changes associated with normal aging.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)357-370
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 12.2007

Research Areas and Centers

  • Health Sciences

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-01 Epidemiology, Medical Biometrics/Statistics
  • 206-08 Cognitive and Systemic Human Neuroscience
  • 206-07 Clinical Neurology Neurosurgery and Neuroradiology

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