Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The UCLA Longitudinal Study of Neurocognitive Outcomes Following Mild Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Talin Babikian (a1), Paul Satz (a1), Ken Zaucha (a1), Roger Light (a1) (a2), Richard S. Lewis (a3) and Robert F. Asarnow (a1) (a4)...

Comprehensive reviews of neurocognitive outcomes following mild, uncomplicated traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children have shown minimal effects on neurocognition, especially in methodologically rigorous studies. In this study, we report longitudinal (1, 6, and 12 months post injury) results in four domains of neurocognitive functioning in a large sample of children with mild TBI (n = 124, ages 8–17 at injury) relative to two demographically matched control groups (other injury: n = 94 and non-injury: n = 106). After accounting for age and parental education, significant main effects of group were observed on 7 of the 10 neurocognitive tests. However, these differences were not unique to the TBI sample but were found between both the TBI and other injury groups relative to the non-injured group, suggesting a general injury effect. Effects were primarily within the domains measuring memory, psychomotor processing speed, and language. This is the largest longitudinal study to date of neurocognitive outcomes at discrete time points in pediatric mild TBI. When controlling for pre-injury factors, there is no evidence of long-term neurocognitive impairment in this group relative to another injury control group. The importance of longitudinal analyses and use of appropriate control groups are discussed in the context of evaluating the effects of mild TBI on cognition. (JINS, 2011, 17, 886–895)

Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Talin Babikian, PhD, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, 760 Westwood Plaza, Room C8-746, Los Angeles, CA 90024. E-mail:
Hide All

Now deceased; Dr. Satz played a key role in the development of this project.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

V. Anderson , C. Catroppa , S. Morse , F. Haritou , J. Rosenfeld (2001). Outcome from mild head injury in young children: A prospective study. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 23(6), 705717.

R.F. Asarnow , P. Satz , R. Light , R. Lewis , E. Neumann (1991). Behavior problems and adaptive functioning in children with mild and severe closed head injury. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 16(5), 543555.

R.F. Asarnow , P. Satz , R. Light , K. Zaucha , R. Lewis , C. McCleary (1995). The UCLA study of mild closed head injury in children and adolescents. In S. Broman & M. E. Michel (Eds.), Traumatic brain injury in children (pp. 117146). New York: Oxford University Press.

T. Babikian , R. Asarnow (2009). Neurocognitive outcomes and recovery after pediatric TBI: Meta-analytic review of the literature. Neuropsychology, 23(3), 283296.

K.M. Barlow , S. Crawford , A. Stevenson , S.S. Sandhu , F. Belanger , D. Dewey (2010). Epidemiology of postconcussion syndrome in pediatric mild traumatic brain injury. Pediatrics, 126(2), e374e381.

H.G. Belanger , R.D. Vanderploeg (2005). The neuropsychological impact of sports-related concussion: A meta-analysis. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 11(4), 345357.

B. Bruce , S. Kirkland , D. Waschbusch (2007). The relationship between childhood behaviour disorders and unintentional injury events. Paediatric Child Health, 12(9), 749754.

C. Catale , P. Marique , A. Closset , T. Meulemans (2009). Attentional and executive functioning following mild traumatic brain injury in children using the Test for Attentional Performance (TAP) battery. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 31(3), 331338.

R.B. Cattell (1963). The theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence: A critical experiment. Journal of Educational Psychology, 54(1), 122.

M.S. Durkin , L.L. Davidson , L. Kuhn , P. O'Connor , B. Barlow (1994). Low-income neighborhoods and the risk of severe pediatric injury: A small-area analysis in northern Manhattan. American Journal of Public Health, 84(4), 587592.

T.B. Fay , K.O. Yeates , S.L. Wade , D. Drotar , T. Stancin , H.G. Taylor (2009). Predicting longitudinal patterns of functional deficits in children with traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychology, 23(3), 271282.

K. Ganesalingam , K.O. Yeates , M.S. Ginn , H.G. Taylor , A. Dietrich , K. Nuss , M. Wright (2008). Family burden and parental distress following mild traumatic brain injury in children and its relationship to post-concussive symptoms. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 33(6), 621629.

J.C. Golden (1976). Identification of brain disorders by the Stroop Color and Word Test. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 32, 654658.

L. Greenspan , B.A. McLellan , H. Greig (1985). Abbreviated Injury Scale and Injury Severity Score: A scoring chart. Journal of Trauma, 25(1), 6064.

M.W. Kirkwood , K.O. Yeates , H.G. Taylor , C. Randolph , M. McCrea , V.A. Anderson (2008). Management of pediatric mild traumatic brain injury: A neuropsychological review from injury through recovery. Clinical Neuropsychology, 22(5), 769800.

L.K. Lee (2007). Controversies in the sequelae of pediatric mild traumatic brain injury. Pediatric Emergency Care, 23(8), 580583; quiz 584–586.

A. Maillard-Wermelinger , K.O. Yeates , H.G. Taylor , J. Rusin , B. Bangert , A. Dietrich , M. Wright (2009). Mild traumatic brain injury and executive functions in school-aged children. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 12(5), 330341.

K.H. Nuechterlein (1983). Signal detection in vigilance tasks and behavioral attributes among offspring of schizophrenic mothers and among hyperactive children. Journal of Clinical and Abnormal Psychology, 92, 4.

C. Petersen , A. Scherwath , J. Fink , U. Koch (2008). Health-related quality of life and psychosocial consequences after mild traumatic brain injury in children and adolescents. Brain Injury, 22(3), 215221.

L.J. Ramsay , G. Moreton , D.R. Gorman , E. Blake , D. Goh , R.A. Elton , T.F. Beattie (2003). Unintentional home injury in preschool-aged children: Looking for the key--An exploration of the inter-relationship and relative importance of potential risk factors. Public Health, 117(6), 404411.

R.M. Reitan , D. Wolfson (1985). The Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery. Tucson, AZ: Neuropsychology Press.

E.W. Russell (1980). Fluid and crystallized intelligence: Effects of diffuse brain damage on the WAIS. Perceptual Motor Skills, 51(1), 121122.

P. Satz , K. Zaucha , C. McCleary , R. Light , R. Asarnow , D. Becker (1997). Mild head injury in children and adolescents: A review of studies (1970-1995). Psychological Bulletin, 122(2), 107131.

D.J. Schretlen , A.M. Shapiro (2003). A quantitative review of the effects of traumatic brain injury on cognitive functioning. International Review of Psychiatry, 15(4), 341349.

D.C. Schwebel , J. Gaines (2007). Pediatric unintentional injury: Behavioral risk factors and implications for prevention. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 28(3), 245254.

D. Wickens (1970). Encoding categorized words: An empirical approach to memory. Psychological Review, 77, 115.

P. Wrightson , V. McGinn , D. Gronwall (1995). Mild head injury in preschool children: Evidence that it can be associated with a persisting cognitive defect. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 59(4), 375380.

K.O. Yeates , H.G. Taylor , J. Rusin , B. Bangert , A. Dietrich , K. Nuss , B.L. Jones (2009). Longitudinal trajectories of postconcussive symptoms in children with mild traumatic brain injuries and their relationship to acute clinical status. Pediatrics, 123(3), 735743.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
  • ISSN: 1355-6177
  • EISSN: 1469-7661
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *