Gwyneth Paltrow’s accuser suffered from a brain condition long before his collision with the actress on a Utah ski slope, a neurology expert has testified.
Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist, is suing the actress, claiming that she slammed into him from behind in a 2016 incident that left him with “permanent traumatic brain injury, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress”.
Testifying for the defence on Wednesday, neuroradiologist Dr Carl Black said that he had reviewed MRI scans of Mr Sanderson’s brain taken before and after the crash and concluded that he saw no evidence of any new injury.
Dr Black said that the 76-year-old showed signs of “white matter disease” in the years before 2016 that did not appear to have worsened.
White matter disease is an umbrella term for age-related damage to a brain’s white matter caused by reduced blood flow to the tissue. It can cause issues with memory, balance and mobility.
It can be distinguished from dementia, which affects language and longer-term memory.
“So you’re seeing this same condition in the brain both before and after the accident?” asked Stephen Owens, an attorney for Ms Paltrow.
“Yes, over an 11-year period,” replied Dr Black.
Following Dr Black on the seventh day of the trial, which is expected to finish on Thursday, neurologist Dr Robert Hoesch was called for the defence.
He claimed any ailments Mr Sanderson suffered from, including mood swings and personality changes, were “likely attributable to pre-existing conditions”.
“If you read records before the collision and after, it doesn’t change the trajectory,” Dr Hoesch told the court.
The only neurological problems Mr Sanderson experienced after the collision can be attributed to “a mild concussion”, he said.
“Ninety-six per cent or more would have made a full recovery from that severity of concussion, 99 per cent within a few months. They are not permanent as plaintiff’s experts claim,” added Dr Hoesch.
He assessed that Mr Sanderson never had any lack of consciousness, as the retiree, fellow skier and friend Craig Ramone earlier testified to – “or if so it lasted no more than seconds”.
He also pointed to white matter shown in Mr Sanderson’s brain scans.
Mr Sanderson’s attorneys last week called to the stand his personal doctor, as well as experts in neurology, neuropsychology and radiology to testify on the extent of his injuries and post-concussion syndrome.
They drew a link between the accident and symptoms he has continued to experience.
The trial continues.
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