Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 128 13
21/11/2014
M. Crystal - M. Christie - A. Grande
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Alzheimer's disease

The worker struck her head when she fell a distance of about two feet from a stepladder. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for Alzheimer's disease or other cognitive deterioration.

The Panel obtained a report from a Tribunal medical assessor. The assessor stated that an unequivocal diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease could not be made, since that requires a specified neuropathological study. However, the assessor was of the view that the probability of Alzheimer's disease was high, approximately 80% to 90%. Even if the worker did have Alzheimer's disease or other neurodegenerative disease, the pathology associated with the disease would have been present for some period of time prior to the accident. Assuming that there was a pre-existing pathology, it was not probable that the accident aggravated or worsened the existing pathology. The accident likely resulted in a mild concussion. The assessor noted that single mild concussions are not thought to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and that the very mild effect of the blow to the worker's head was unlikely to have had a lasting effect.
The Panel concluded that the worker did not have entitlement for Alzheimer's disease or other cognitive deterioration. The appeal was dismissed.