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Neuropsychological and information processing deficits following mild traumatic brain injury

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2004

JANE L. MATHIAS
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
JACQUI A. BEALL
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
ERIN D. BIGLER
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Abstract

Neuroradiological and neuropathological investigations have found evidence of diffuse brain damage in the frontal and temporal lobes, corpus callosum, and fornices in patients who have sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, neuropsychological assessments of these patients do not typically target many of the subtle information processing deficits that may arise from diffuse damage involving the frontotemporal regions of the brain as well as white matter pathology, including the corpus callosum. Consequently, we have a limited understanding of the deficits that may be attributable to temporary or permanent disruptions to these functional pathways. This study assessed a group of mild TBI patients (N = 40) and a matched control group (N = 40) on a number of standard neuropsychological tests of selective and sustained attention, verbal and non-verbal fluency, and verbal memory. In addition, reaction time (RT) tasks, requiring both the inter- and intra-hemispheric processing of visual and tactile information, were used to assess the functional integrity of the tracts that are likely to be affected by diffuse damage. In the 1st month after sustaining their injury, the mild TBI group demonstrated deficits in attention, non-verbal fluency, and verbal memory. They also demonstrated slower visual and tactile RTs, with the visual RTs of mild TBI patients being more affected by increased task difficulty and the need to transfer information across the corpus callosum, than did their matched controls. (JINS, 2004, 10, 286–297.)

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2004 The International Neuropsychological Society

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