A new article has been published regarding whiplash injuries that has very little (if any) scientific credibility. Normally, we do not report on such studies, but we must report on this one because it is sure to show up on some accident reconstructionist's report at some time, and its important that you are forewarned.
This article is titled, "Neurological sequelae of minor head and neck injuries," which sounds as if it might have some value. Unfortunately, the author is simply attempting to discredit anyone who claims to have a whiplash injury.
First of all, the study subjects were all referred to the author for "medico-legal reports." Although the exact meaning of this is not explained, it is clear from the author's tone that he performs "independent" medical exams. And it seems he has been performing this service for some time now; the first cases he refers to are from 1954.
In this "study," the author compared "112 cases referred for neck pain and headaches, usually following a rear end motor vehicle accident" and 50 patients with severe head and neck injuries and who had suffered amnesia for over 2 hours.
The author states that none of the severe head injury patients complained of neck pain, and concludes that the whiplash patients' symptoms are "better explained on the behavioural concept of chronic pain, learned pain behaviour and secondary gain."
The errors in this study are too numerous to mention, but here is a brief summary of the most egregious:
Ironically, in spite of such obvious bias, the statistical conclusion the author reaches confirms what many other studies have found:
"In conclusion, while 70% of minor head and neck injuries settle within a few weeks of a motor vehicle accident, about 30% continue to complain of headaches and/or neck pain."
As you can see, those who are opposed to the very idea of whiplash being a real condition will go to great lengths to prop up their viewpoint—in spite of the latest literature. Keep the above points in mind when you see this article referred to in the future.Landy PJB. Neurological sequelae of minor head and neck injuries. Injury 1998;29(3):199-206.