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Litigation: Claiming disability benefits based on cognitive impairment? Show me your brain.

Two federal cases underscore the importance of neuroimaging technology in disability benefits cases

Two relatively recent federal cases should put benefits attorneys on notice that courts may require plaintiffs who claim disability benefits based on cognitive impairment to present objective evidence of brain function using neuroimaging technology.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and other neuroimaging technologies involve making a series of digital brain images to measure changes in blood levels in different regions of the brain over time. Visually, fMRI depicts small, localized changes in brain blood flow as colorful hot spots mapped onto a three-dimensional (or flattened two-dimensional) digital image of the brain’s surface. Cognitive neuroscience researchers interpret these digital images to make inferences about brain function.

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Shawn Hanson

Shawn Hanson is a partner in the litigation practice in the San Francisco office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, focusing on commercial, false...

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Contributing Author

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Anya Stein

Anya Stein is an associate in the litigation practice in the San Francisco office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. She focuses her practice...

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