A. Convulsive disorders. In convulsive disorders, regardless of etiology degree of impairment will be determined according to type, frequency, duration, and sequelae of seizures. At least one detailed description of a typical seizure is required. Such description includes the presence or absence of aura, tongue bites, sphincter control, injuries associated with the attack, and postictal phenomena. The reporting physician should indicate the extent to which description of seizures reflects his own observations and the source of ancillary information. Testimony of persons other than the claimant is essential for description of type and frequency of seizures if professional observation is not available.
Documentation of epilepsy should include at least one electronencephalogram (EEG).
Under 11.02 and 11.03, the criteria can be applied only if the impairment persists despite the fact that the individual is following prescribed anticonvulsive treatment. Adherence to prescribed anticonvulsive therapy can ordinarily be determined from objective clinical findings in the report of the physician currently providing treatment for epilepsy. Determination of blood levels of phenytoin sodium or other anticonvulsive drugs may serve to indicate whether the prescribed medication is being taken. When seizures are occurring at the frequency stated in 11.02 or 11.03, evaluation of the severity of the impairment must include consideration of the serum drug levels. Should serum drug levels appear therapeutically inadequate, consideration should be given as to whether this is caused by individual idiosyncrasy in absorption of metabolism of the drug. Blood drug levels should be evaluated in conjunction with all the other evidence to determine the extent of compliance. When the reported blood drug levels are low, therefore, the information obtained from the treating source should include the physician's statement as to why the levels are low and the results of any relevant diagnostic studies concerning the blood levels. Where adequate seizure control is obtained only with unusually large doses, the possibility of impairment resulting from the side effects of this medication must be also assessed. Where documentation shows that use of alcohol or drugs affects adherence to prescribed therapy or may play a part in the precipitation of seizures, this must also be considered in the overall assessment of impairment level.
B. Brain tumors. The diagnosis of malignant brain tumors must be established, and the persistence of the tumor should be evaluated, under the criteria described in 13.00B and C for neoplastic disease.
In histologically malignant tumors, the pathological diagnosis alone will be the decisive criterion for severity and expected duration (see 11.05A). For other tumors of the brain, the severity and duration of the impairment will be determined on the basis of symptoms, signs, and pertinent laboratory findings (11.05B).
C. Persistent disorganization of motor function in the form of paresis or paralysis, tremor or other involuntary movements, ataxia and sensory disturbances (any or all of which may be due to cerebral cerbellar, brain stem, spinal cord, or peripheral nerve dysfunction) which occur singly or in various combination, frequently provides the sole or partial basis for decision in cases of neurological impairment. The assessment of impairment depends on the degree of interference with locomotion and/or interference with the use of fingers, hands, and arms.
D. In conditions which are episodic in character, such as multiple sclerosis or myasthenia gravis, consideration should be given to frequency and duration of exacerbations, length of remissions, and permanent residuals.
E. Multiple sclerosis. The major criteria for evaluating impairment caused by multiple sclerosis are discussed in listing 11.09. Paragraph A provides criteria for evaluating disorganization of motor function and gives reference to 11.04B (11.04B then refers to 11.00C). Paragraph B provides references to other listings for evaluating visual or mental impairments caused by multiple sclerosis. Paragraph C provides criteria for evaluating the impairment of individuals who do not have muscle weakness or other significant disorganization of motor function at rest, but who do develop muscle weakness on activity as a result of fatigue.
Use of the criteria in 11.09C is dependent upon (1) documenting a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, (2) obtaining a description of fatigue considered to be characteristic of multiple sclerosis, and (3) obtaining evidence that the system has actually become fatigued. The evaluation of the magnitude of the impairment must consider the degree of exercise and the severity of the resulting muscle weakness.
The criteria in 11.09C deals with motor abnormalities which occur on activity. If the disorganization of motor function is present at rest, paragraph A must be used, taking into account any further increase in muscle weakness resulting from activity.
Sensory abnormalities may occur, particularly involving central visual acuity. The decrease in visual acuity may occur after brief attempts at activity involving near vision, such as reading. This decrease in visual acuity may not persist when the specific activity is terminated, as with rest, but is predictably reproduced with resumption of the activity. The impairment of central visual acuity in these cases should be evaluated under the criteria in listing 2.02, taking into account the fact that the decrease in visual acuity will wax and wane.
Clarification of the evidence regarding central nervous system dysfunction responsible for the symptoms may require supporting technical evidence of functional impairment such as evoked response tests during exercise.
11.01 Category of Impairments, Neurological
11.02 Epilepsy--major motor seizures, (grand mal or psychomotor), documented by EEG and by detailed description of a typical seizure pattern, including all associated phenomena; occurring more frequently than once a month, in spite of at least 3 months of prescribed treatment. With:
A. Daytime episodes (loss of consciousness and convulsive seizures) or
B. Nocturnal episodes manifesting residuals which interfere significantly with activity during the day.
11.03 Epilepsy--Minor motor seizures (petit mal, psychomotor, or focal), documented by EEG and by detailed description of a typical seizure pattern, including all associated phenomena; occurring more frequently than once weekly in spite of at least 3 months of prescribed treatment. With alteration of awareness or loss of consciousness and transient postictal manifestations of unconventional behavior or significant interference with activity during the day.
A. Sensory or motor aphasia resulting in ineffective speech or communication; or
B. Significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station (see 11.00C).
A. Malignant gliomas (astrocytoma--grades III and IV, glioblastoma multiforme), medulloblastoma, ependymoblastoma, or primary sarcoma; or
B. Astrocytoma (grades I and II), meningioma, pituitary tumors, oligodendroglioma, ependymoma, clivus chordoma, and benign tumors. Evaluate under 11.02, 11.03, 11.04 A, or B, or 12.02.
11.06 Parkinsonian syndrome with the following signs: Significant rigidity, brady kinesia, or tremor in two extremities, which, singly or in combination, result in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.
A. IQ of 70 or less; or
B. Abnormal behavior patterns, such as destructiveness or emotional instability; or
C. Significant interference in communication due to speech, hearing, or visual defect; or
D. Disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B.
A. Disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B; or
B. Visual or mental impairment as described under the criteria in 2.02, 2.03, 2.04, or 12.02; or
C. Significant, reproducible fatigue of motor function with substantial muscle weakness on repetitive activity, demonstrated on physical examination, resulting from neurological dysfunction in areas of the central nervous system known to be pathologically involved by the multiple sclerosis process.
A. Significant bulbar signs; or
B. Disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B.
A. Persistent difficulty with swallowing or breathing; or
B. Unintelligible speech; or
C. Disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B.
A. Significant difficulty with speaking, swallowing, or breathing while on prescribed therapy; or
B. Significant motor weakness of muscles of extremities on repetitive activity against resistance while on prescribed therapy.
With disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B, in spite of prescribed treatment.
A. Tabetic crises occurring more frequently than once monthly; or
B. Unsteady, broad-based or ataxic gait causing significant restriction of mobility substantiated by appropriate posterior column signs.
A. Disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B or 11.15B; or
B. Chronic brain syndrome. Evaluate under 12.02.
Evaluate under the provisions of 11.02, 11.03, 11.04 and 12.02, as applicable.
A. Significant bulbar signs; or
B. Disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B.