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Objective: Concussion in children and adolescents is a prevalent problem with implications for subsequent physical, cognitive, behavioral, and psychological functioning, as well as quality of life. While these consequences warrant attention, most concussed children recover well. This study aimed to determine what pre-injury, demographic, and injury-related factors are associated with optimal outcome (“wellness”) after pediatric concussion. Method: A total of 311 children 6–18 years of age with concussion participated in a longitudinal, prospective cohort study. Pre-morbid conditions and acute injury variables, including post-concussive symptoms (PCS) and cognitive screening (Standardized Assessment of Concussion, SAC), were collected in the emergency department, and a neuropsychological assessment was performed at 4 and 12 weeks post-injury. Wellness, defined by the absence of PCS and cognitive inefficiency and the presence of good quality of life, was the main outcome. Stepwise logistic regression was performed using 19 predictor variables. Results: 41.5% and 52.2% of participants were classified as being well at 4 and 12 weeks post-injury, respectively. The final model indicated that children who were younger, who sustained sports/recreational injuries (vs. other types), who did not have a history of developmental problems, and who had better acute working memory (SAC concentration score) were significantly more likely to be well. Conclusions: Determining the variables associated with wellness after pediatric concussion has the potential to clarify which children are likely to show optimal recovery. Future work focusing on wellness and concussion should include appropriate control groups and document more extensively pre-injury and injury-related factors that could additionally contribute to wellness. (JINS, 2019, 25, 375–389)
Neuropsychological assessment aims to identify individual performance profiles in multiple domains of cognitive functioning; however, substantial variation exists in how deficits are defined and what cutoffs are used, and there is no universally accepted definition of neuropsychological impairment. The aim of this study was to derive and validate a clinical case definition rule to identify neuropsychological impairment in children and adolescents. An existing normative pediatric sample was used to calculate base rates of abnormal functioning on eight measures covering six domains of neuropsychological functioning. The dataset was analyzed by varying the range of cutoff levels [1, 1.5, and 2 standard deviations (SDs) below the mean] and number of indicators of impairment. The derived rule was evaluated by bootstrap, internal and external clinical validation (orthopedic and traumatic brain injury). Our neuropsychological impairment (NPI) rule was defined as “two or more test scores that fall 1.5 SDs below the mean.” The rule identifies 5.1% of the total sample as impaired in the assessment battery and consistently targets between 3 and 7% of the population as impaired even when age, domains, and number of tests are varied. The NPI rate increases in groups known to exhibit cognitive deficits. The NPI rule provides a psychometrically derived method for interpreting performance across multiple tests and may be used in children 6–18 years. The rule may be useful to clinicians and scientists who wish to establish whether specific individuals or clinical populations present within expected norms versus impaired function across a battery of neuropsychological tests. (JINS, 2015, 21, 596–609)
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