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In this paper, the author argues that Joseph Fins’ mosaic decisionmaking model for brain-injured patients is untenable. He supports this claim by identifying three problems with mosaic decisionmaking. First, that it is unclear whether a mosaic is a conceptually adequate metaphor for a decisionmaking process that is intended to promote patient autonomy. Second, that the proposed legal framework for mosaic decisionmaking is inappropriate. Third, that it is unclear how we ought to select patients for participation in mosaic decisionmaking.
Long-term patient outcomes after severe brain injury are highly variable, and reliable prognostic indicators are urgently needed to guide treatment decisions. Functional neuroimaging is a highly sensitive method of uncovering covert cognition and awareness in patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness, and there has been increased interest in using it as a research tool in acutely brain injured patients. When covert awareness is detected in a research context, this may impact surrogate decisionmaking—including decisions about life-sustaining treatment—even though the prognostic value of covert consciousness is currently unknown. This paper provides guidance to clinicians and families in incorporating individual research results of unknown prognostic value into surrogate decisionmaking, focusing on three potential issues: (1) Surrogate decisionmakers may misinterpret results; (2) Results may create false hope about the prospects of recovery; (3) There may be disagreement about the meaningfulness or relevance of results, and appropriateness of continued care.
We conducted joint analyses from five randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of online family problem-solving therapy (OFPST) for children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) to identify child and parent outcomes most sensitive to OFPST and trajectories of recovery over time.
We examined data from 359 children with complicated mild to severe TBI, aged 5–18, randomized to OFPST or a control condition. Using profile analyses, we examined group differences on parent-reported child (internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, executive function behaviors, social competence) and family outcomes (parental depression, psychological distress, family functioning, parent–child conflict).
We found a main effect for measure for both child and family outcomes [F(3, 731) = 7.35, p < .001; F(3, 532) = 4.79, p = .003, respectively], reflecting differing degrees of improvement across measures for both groups. Significant group-by-time interactions indicated that children and families in the OFPST group had fewer problems than controls at both 6 and 18 months post baseline [t(731) = −5.15, p < .001, and t(731) = −3.90, p = .002, respectively, for child outcomes; t(532) = −4.81, p < .001, and t(532) = −3.80, p < .001, respectively, for family outcomes].
The results suggest limited differences in the measures’ responsiveness to treatment while highlighting OFPST’s utility in improving both child behavior problems and parent/family functioning. Group differences were greatest at treatment completion and after extended time post treatment.
How brain damage after stroke is related to specific clinical manifestation and recovery is incompletely understood. We studied cognitive reserve (CR) in stroke patients by two types of measurements: (i) objectively verifiable static proxies (i.e., education, occupational attainment), and (ii) subjective, dynamic proxies based on patient testimony in response to a questionnaire. We hypothesized that one or both of these types of CR measurements might correlate positively with patient cognitive performance during the post-acute and chronic phases of recovery.
Thirty-four stroke patients underwent neuropsychological assessment at 2, 6 and 24 months after stroke onset. In chronic stage at 24+ months, self-rating assessments of cognitive performance in daily life and social integration were obtained. CR before and after stroke was estimated using static proxies and dynamic proxies were obtained using the Cognitive Reserve Scale (CRS-Pre-stroke, CRS-Post-stroke).
CRS-Pre-stroke and CRS-Post-stroke showed significant mean differences. Dynamic proxies showed positive correlation with self-assessment of attention, metacognition, and functional ability in chronic stage. In contrast, significant correlations between static proxies and cognitive recovery were not found.
Dynamic proxies of CR were positively correlated with patients’ perception of their functional abilities in daily life. To best guide cognitive prognosis and treatment, we propose that dynamic proxies of CR should be included in neuropsychological assessments of patients with brain damage.
The current study explored the experiences and aspirations of a cohort of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults with neurocognitive disability residing in a homeless shelter in regional Queensland, Australia. Neurocognitive disability (NCD) refers to any acquired disorder or injury to the brain where the primary clinical deficit is in cognitive function.
The data reported on in this paper emerged from a broader study that aimed to understand the extent and nature of neurocognitive disability amongst homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The broader study found high levels of NCD which impacted on people’s ability to participate in society. As part of the study, qualitative information was sought regarding participant life experiences. A culturally safe and acceptable structure of “past, present and future” was applied to open-ended questions.
Thematic analysis of the data identified four broad themes of i) normalisation of illness and disability; ii) trauma and loss; iii) socioeconomic disadvantage; and iv) hope and disempowerment. This paper reports on these themes and experiences, which occurred across the life span, intersected with NCD, and contributed to what we have termed ‘complex disablement’ amongst this cohort.
While causal links between life experience, disability and disablement are not always clear, our findings suggest that attempts to address homelessness must engage with this complexity. The application of holistic, intersectoral supports, which encompass culturally informed, community driven approaches are needed. Understanding the impacts of individual and intergenerational trauma is crucial to safe and effective service provision for this cohort.
To determine the perceived 5-year outcome of Goal Management Training (GMT) for individuals with chronic acquired brain injury and executive dysfunction, when compared to a nonspecific psychoeducational intervention (Brain Health Workshop, BHW).
Of the 67 subjects in the initial randomized controlled trial [Tornås et al. (2016). Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 1–17], 50 (GMT, n = 21; BHW, n = 29) subjects returned written consent and questionnaires (54% male, age 45.8 ± 10.9 years). The 5-year follow-up consisted of two questionnaires, including the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function for daily life executive function (EF) and Quality of Life after Brain Injury to assess health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Changes related to daily life EF and HRQoL were assessed pre-treatment, post-treatment, 6-month follow-up, and 5-year follow-up. Data were analyzed using a 2 × 4 mixed-design ANOVA.
The findings indicate that GMT is efficacious in improving EF and HRQoL 6-month post-treatment. However, these changes failed to remain significant at 5-year follow-up.
Data from 50 participants receiving either GMT or BHW suggested that the significant GMT-related improvements on perceived EF and HRQoL observed at 6-month follow-up were no longer present at 5-year follow-up. These findings indicate a need to promote maintenance of interventions post-treatment.
Currently, there is increasing recognition of the need to use a client-centred approach to goal setting in rehabilitation. However, there is limited research to guide practice with community-dwelling clients with acquired brain injury. An understanding of the characteristics of client-centred goals and the extent to which client-centeredness influences goal outcomes is required.
To examine the relationships between the client-centredness of goals and their characteristics, content, recall and outcomes of client-centred goals in brain injury rehabilitation.
A prospective cohort design study was employed. Participants were 45 clients with brain injury receiving outpatient rehabilitation, who completed measures of client-centredness after goal setting. Each goal was classified according to whether it was specific, measurable, non-jargonistic, and participation-focussed, included a timeframe and was recalled by participants.
Participants set 223 goals with 20 clinicians from multiple disciplines. Levels of client-centredness did not differ according to the characteristics, content and recall of goals, with the exception of goal specificity (p < 0.01). Client-centredness was significantly and positively correlated with goal outcomes (p < 0.05).
The use of client-centred goals is recommended for improved rehabilitation outcomes. Applying goal documentation criteria does not necessarily mean that goals will be client-centred, and highly specific goal statements may not reflect what is important and meaningful to clients.
Objectives: The current study used a mixed-method design to qualitatively examine parents’ definitions of resilience and factors they believed optimized their child’s early outcome following neonatal brain injury. This was followed by quantitative analyses of early developmental and mental health outcomes and their relation to salient biopsychosocial factors. Methods: Participants were parents of children diagnosed with neonatal brain injury due to stroke or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (N=51; age range of children 18 months to 8 years). The Parent Experiences Questionnaire (PEQ) was used to qualitatively analyze parents’ open-ended responses about their child’s early experiences and outcome. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Scales of Independent Behaviour Early Developmental Form (SIB-ED) parent ratings were used to measure child resilience from a quantitative perspective, identifying “at-risk” and “resilient” children using standard cutoffs. “Resilient” and “at-risk” children were compared on biopsychosocial variables using univariate t tests and chi-square analyses. Results: Parents provided five unique definitions of their child’s positive outcomes, and many children demonstrated resilience based on parent perspectives and quantitative definitions. Supporting factors included close medical follow-up, early intervention, and intrinsic factors within the child and parent. Group comparisons of “resilient” and “at-risk” children highlighted the importance of parent mental health across these early developmental and mental health outcomes. Conclusions: Many children were described as resilient during the early years by parents using qualitative and quantitative approaches. Findings highlighted the importance of parent well-being in promoting optimal early outcomes. (JINS, 2019, 25, 390–402.)
This open study investigated the clinical effects of 10-week selegiline administration in six patients in vegetative state and in four patients in a minimally conscious state, at least 6 months after onset. Clinical outcome was assessed by Coma Recovery Scale-Revised once a week during selegiline administration and 1 month later. Three patients stopped treatment because of possible side effects. After treatment and at 1 month of follow-up, four patients showed improvements in clinical diagnosis, and three patients showed an increase in arousal level only. Selegiline might represent a relatively safe option to enhance arousal and promote recovery in brain-injured patients with disorders of consciousness.
The case of James Cagney adds interesting details to the history of concussion. It is underappreciated that a movie-star of Cagney’s stature incurred multiple concussions over many years. Moreover, the fact that he sustained one of these concussions in Canada while filming Captains of the Clouds, a major Hollywood film, is essentially unknown, and was seldom discussed by Cagney despite his willingness to discuss his many other concussions. The scene showing this concussion was left in the final released version of the movie, making it one of the earliest filmed concussions and the first concussion ever filmed in Technicolor.
Our ability to interact appropriately in everyday interpersonal situations is fundamental to successful social integration. Impaired pragmatic competence correlates significantly and substantially with indices of social function across several domains for adults with acquired neurological disorders. In particular, evidence supports the negative impact of pragmatic impairments on the development and maintenance of relationships and community integration more generally.
Pragmatic language competence sits in a complex, multifactorial space characterised by interacting associations with cognitive and psychological functions and social and environmental parameters. This complexity is evident in much of the research seeking to unravel the nature and magnitude of interactions between pragmatic language competence and social outcomes in adults with acquired neurological disorders.
Over recent years our understanding of the impact of pragmatic impairments on social outcome has benefited substantially from inclusion of the insider's perspective in our research evidence base. Indeed, a methodological inclusion of constructivist paradigms has enabled the development of a rich understanding of the devastating social impact of impaired pragmatic competence.
The aim of this paper is to review pragmatic language impairment in the context of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and detail its impact on social functioning from the perspectives of people with TBI and their intimate partners/spouses and friends. With these perspectives as background, the paper concludes with consideration of therapeutic developments and a brief look at a novel intervention designed to reduce the negative impact of pragmatic deficits and improve functional language use following TBI.
Objectives: Preterm children demonstrate deficits in executive functions including inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility; however, their goal setting abilities (planning, organization, strategic reasoning) remain unclear. This study compared goal setting abilities between very preterm (VP: <30 weeks/<1250 grams) and term born controls during late childhood. Additionally, early risk factors (neonatal brain abnormalities, medical complications, and sex) were examined in relationship to goal setting outcomes within the VP group. Methods: Participants included 177 VP and 61 full-term born control children aged 13 years. Goal setting was assessed using several measures of planning, organization, and strategic reasoning. Parents also completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function. Regression models were performed to compare groups, with secondary analyses adjusting for potential confounders (sex and social risk), and excluding children with major neurosensory impairment and/or IQ<70. Within the VP group, regression models were performed to examine the relationship between brain abnormalities, medical complications, and sex, on goal setting scores. Results: The VP group demonstrated a clear pattern of impairment and inefficiency across goal setting measures, consistent with parental report, compared with their full-term born peers. Within the VP group, moderate/severe brain abnormalities on neonatal MRI predicted adverse goal setting outcomes at 13. Conclusions: Goal setting difficulties are a significant area of concern in VP children during late childhood. These difficulties are associated with neonatal brain abnormalities, and are likely to have functional consequences academically, socially and vocationally. (JINS, 2018, 24, 372–381)
Objectives: The goal of the present study was to elucidate the influence of demographic and neuropathological moderators on the longitudinal trajectory neuropsychological functions during the first year after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). In addition to examining demographic moderators such as age and education, we included a measure of whole-brain diffuse axonal injury (DAI), and examined measures of processing speed (PS), executive function (EF), and verbal learning (VL) separately. Methods: Forty-six adults with moderate to severe TBI were examined at 3, 6, and 12 months post-injury. Participants underwent neuropsychological evaluation and neuroimaging including diffusion tensor imaging. Using linear mixed effects modeling, we examined longitudinal trajectories and moderating factors of cognitive outcomes separately for three domains: PS, VL, and EF. Results: VL and EF showed linear improvements, whereas PS exhibited a curvilinear trend characterized by initial improvements that plateaued or declined, depending on age. Age moderated the recovery trajectories of EF and PS. Education and DAI did not influence trajectory but were related to initial level of functioning for PS and EF in the case of DAI, and all three cognitive domains in the case of education. Conclusions: We found disparate recovery trajectories across cognitive domains. Younger age was associated with more favorable recovery of EF and PS. These findings have both clinical and theoretical implications. Future research with a larger sample followed over a longer time period is needed to further elucidate the factors that may influence cognitive change over the acute to chronic period after TBI. (JINS, 2018, 24, 237–246)
Severe head injury or brain injury presents clinical neuroscientists with a unique challenge. Based on an objective assessment of cognitive and neurological function, it is sometimes hard to recognize our patients as members of our moral community (actually or potentially) but we treat them as if that were is the case, and, therefore, as if they need rescuing. Thus their existences as enigmata—beings who may or may not reveal themselves to us through social and personal function realized in conversations and relationships—are in doubt. However, the objective mode of assessing individuals and their mental functions needs to be bracketed here, as we reconnect with them and offer them our help in the restorative journey that they need to take. The journey has many tortuous paths comprising it, not the least of which is the existential question of whether the damaged human being with whom we are engaged actually can be restored to a meaningful life. A negative answer to that question can bring the whole process to an abrupt end. Neuroscience cannot answer some of these questions, as they are ethical. Is this a life worth living and are our commitments going to go the distance that must be traversed here. Therefore, this is an area where ethics take priority over neuroscience, and it is on our ethical response that everything else hinges. Understanding the light this throws on the nature of a human being takes us to the heart of the value of every human being and the nexus of mutuality that is the moral community.
Background: Standardized data collection for traumatic brain injury (TBI) (including concussion) using common data elements (CDEs) has strengthened clinical care and research capacity in the United States and Europe. Currently, Ontario healthcare providers do not collect uniform data on adult patients diagnosed with concussion. Objective: The Ontario Concussion Care Strategy (OCCS) is a collaborative network of multidisciplinary healthcare providers, brain injury advocacy groups, patient representatives, and researchers with a shared vision to improve concussion care across the province, starting with the collection of standardized data. Methods: The International Framework of Functioning Disability and Health was selected as the conceptual framework to inform the selection of CDEs. The CDEs recommended by the OCCS were identified using key literature, including the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke–Zurich Consensus Statements for concussion in sport and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation Concussion/mTBI clinical guidelines. Results: The OCCS has recommended and piloted CDEs for Ontario that are readily available at no cost, clinically relevant, patient friendly, easy to interpret, and recognized by the international scientific community. Conclusions: The implementation of CDEs can help to shift Ontario toward internationally recognized standard data collection, and in so doing yield a more comprehensive evidence-based approach to care while also supporting rigorous research.
Objectives: The present study examined the relative contribution of recent or long-term heading to neuropsychological function in amateur adult soccer players. Participants and Methods: Soccer players completed a baseline questionnaire (HeadCount-12m) to ascertain heading during the prior 12 months (long-term heading, LTH) and an online questionnaire (HeadCount-2w) every 3 months to ascertain heading during the prior 2 weeks (recent heading, RH). Cogstate, a battery of six neuropsychological tests, was administered to assess neuropsychological function. Generalized estimating equations were used to test if LTH or RH was associated with neuropsychological function while accounting for the role of recognized concussion. Results: A total of 311 soccer players completed 630 HeadCount-2w. Participants had an average age of 26 years. Participants headed the ball a median of 611 times/year (mean=1,384.03) and 9.50 times/2 weeks (mean=34.17). High levels of RH were significantly associated with reduced performance on a task of psychomotor speed (p=.02), while high levels of LTH were significantly associated with poorer performance on tasks of verbal learning (p=.03) and verbal memory (p=.04). Significantly better attention (p=.02) was detectable at moderately high levels of RH, but not at the highest level of RH. One hundred and seven (34.4%) participants reported a lifetime history of concussion, but this was not related to neuropsychological function and did not modify the association of RH or LTH with neuropsychological function. Conclusion: High levels of both RH and LTH were associated with poorer neuropsychological function, but on different domains. The clinical manifestations following repetitive exposure to heading could change with chronicity of exposure. (JINS, 2018, 24, 147–155)
Fetal growth restriction (FGR) and preterm birth are frequent co-morbidities, both are independent risks for brain injury. However, few studies have examined the mechanisms by which preterm FGR increases the risk of adverse neurological outcomes. We aimed to determine the effects of prematurity and mechanical ventilation (VENT) on the brain of FGR and appropriately grown (AG, control) lambs. We hypothesized that FGR preterm lambs are more vulnerable to ventilation-induced acute brain injury. FGR was surgically induced in fetal sheep (0.7 gestation) by ligation of a single umbilical artery. After 4 weeks, preterm lambs were euthanized at delivery or delivered and ventilated for 2 h before euthanasia. Brains and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were collected for analysis of molecular and structural indices of early brain injury. FGRVENT lambs had increased oxidative cell damage and brain injury marker S100B levels compared with all other groups. Mechanical ventilation increased inflammatory marker IL-8 within the brain of FGRVENT and AGVENT lambs. Abnormalities in the neurovascular unit and increased blood–brain barrier permeability were observed in FGRVENT lambs, as well as an altered density of vascular tight junctions markers. FGR and AG preterm lambs have different responses to acute injurious mechanical ventilation, changes which appear to have been developmentally programmed in utero.
Objective: Given the difficult to navigate literature on social determinants in Indigenous traumatic brain injury (TBI) we wished to identify all available literature on the social determinants of health linked to TBI in the North American Indigenous populations. Methods: We performed a systematically conducted review. We searched MEDLINE, BIOSIS, EMBASE, Global Health, SCOPUS, and Cochrane Library from inception to January 2016. A two-step review process of the search results was performed, applying defined inclusion/exclusion criteria. The final group of articles had the data extracted and summarized. Results: Ten manuscripts were identified to discuss some social determinant linked to TBI in the North American Indigenous populations. Two studies were focused on Canadian populations, with the remaining 8 studies focused on populations within the United States. Six social health determinants were identified within the studies, including: Rural location (Physical Environment) in seven studies, Male gender in five studies and Female gender in one study (in the setting of interpersonal violence) (Gender), Substance use in four studies and failure to utilize personal protective equipment in one study (Personal Health Practices and Coping Skills), Interpersonal Violence in one study (Social Environment), availability of rehabilitation services in one study (Health Services), and lack of family and friend presence during meetings with healthcare professionals in one study (Social Support Network). Conclusions: To date, little literature is available on the social determinants that impact TBI in the North American Indigenous population. Further research is warranted to better determine the incidence and social determinants associated.
Objectives: The negative effect of changes in social behavior following traumatic brain injury (TBI) are known, but much less is known about the neuropsychological impairments that may underlie and predict these changes. The current study investigated possible associations between post-injury behavior and neuropsychological competencies of emotion recognition, understanding intentions, and response selection, that have been proposed as important for social functioning. Methods: Forty participants with TBI and 32 matched healthy participants completed a battery of tests assessing the three functions of interest. In addition, self- and proxy reports of pre- and post-injury behavior, mood, and community integration were collected. Results: The TBI group performed significantly poorer than the comparison group on all tasks of emotion recognition, understanding intention, and on one task of response selection. Ratings of current behavior suggested significant changes in the TBI group relative to before the injury and showed significantly poorer community integration and interpersonal behavior than the comparison group. Of the three functions considered, emotion recognition was associated with both post-injury behavior and community integration and this association could not be fully explained by injury severity, time since injury, or education. Conclusions: The current study confirmed earlier findings of associations between emotion recognition and post-TBI behavior, providing partial evidence for models proposing emotion recognition as one of the pre-requisites for adequate social functioning. (JINS, 2017, 23, 400–411)