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Post-concussive Symptoms and Neuropsychological Performance in the Post-acute Period following Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Martina Studer (a1) (a2), Barbara Goeggel Simonetti (a1) (a2) (a3), Alexander Joeris (a4), Katja Margelisch (a1) (a2) (a5), Maja Steinlin (a1) (a2), Claudia Maria Roebers (a2) (a5) and Theda Heinks (a1) (a2)...

Abstract

Objective: There is evidence that children after mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) suffer ongoing post-concussive symptoms (PCS). However, results concerning neuropsychological outcome after mTBI are controversial. Thus, our aim was to examine group differences regarding neuropsychological outcome and PCS. Additionally, we explored the influence of current and pre-injury everyday attention problems on neuropsychological outcome in children after mTBI. Method: In a prospective short-term longitudinal study, 40 children (aged 6–16 years) after mTBI and 38 children after orthopedic injury (OI) underwent neuropsychological, socio-behavioral and PCS assessments in the acute stage and at 1 week, at 4 weeks, and 4 months after the injury. Results: Parents of children after mTBI observed significantly more PCS compared to parents of children after OI, especially in the acute stage. Our results revealed no neuropsychological or socio-behavioral differences over time between both groups. However, in children after mTBI, we found negative correlations between elevated levels of everyday attention problems and reduced neuropsychological performance. Furthermore, there was a negative influence of pre-injury everyday attention problems on neuropsychological performance in children after mTBI. Conclusion: In accordance with earlier studies, parents of children after mTBI initially observed significantly more PCS compared to parents of children after OI. There were no neuropsychological or socio-behavioral group differences between children after mTBI and OI in the post-acute period. However, our exploratory findings concerning the influence of everyday attention problems on neuropsychological outcome indicate that current and pre-injury everyday attention problems were negatively associated with neuropsychological performance in children after mTBI. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–12)

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Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Martina Studer, Department of Pediatric Neurology, Development & Rehabilitation, University Children’s Hospital, Inselspital, 3010 Bern. E-mail: martina.studer@insel.ch

References

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