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Cognitive and neurobehavioral functioning after mild versus moderate traumatic brain injury in older adults

  • FELICIA C. GOLDSTEIN (a1), HARVEY S. LEVIN (a2), WILLIAM P. GOLDMAN (a1), ALLISON N. CLARK (a1) and TRACY KENEHAN ALTONEN (a2)...

Abstract

This study evaluated the early cognitive and neurobehavioral outcomes of older adults with mild versus moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI). Thirty-five patients who were age 50 years and older and sustained mild or moderate TBI were prospectively recruited from acute care hospitals. Patients were administered cognitive and neurobehavioral measures up to 2 months post-injury. Demographically comparable control participants received the same measures. Patients and controls did not have previous histories of substance abuse, neuropsychiatric disturbance, dementia, or neurologic illness. Moderate TBI patients performed significantly poorer than mild TBI patients and controls on most cognitive measures, whereas the mild patients performed comparably to controls. In contrast, both mild and moderate patients exhibited significantly greater depression and anxiety/somatic concern than controls. The results indicate that the classification of TBI as mild versus moderate is prognostically meaningful as applied to older adults. The findings extend previous investigations in young adults by demonstrating a relatively good cognitive outcome on objective measures, but subjective complaints after a single, uncomplicated mild TBI in older persons. (JINS, 2001, 7, 373–383.)

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Reprint requests to: Felicia C. Goldstein, Ph.D., Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, 1841 Clifton Road, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30329. E-mail: fgoldst@emory.edu

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