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Predictors of Recovery After Brain Injury Identified

Years after traumatic brain injury, patients still perform significantly worse on cognitive measures

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WEDNESDAY, July 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Higher intelligence and younger age are predictors of greater cognitive recovery two to five years following mild-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a study published online June 17 in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

Elinor E. Fraser, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues examined the association of long-term cognitive recovery in 109 adults (71 percent male) experiencing complicated mild-to-severe TBI with age, premorbid intelligence (IQ), and injury severity measured by posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) duration. Assessments occurred a mean of 43.73 days after TBI and again at a mean of 3.70 years after injury. Measurements were also completed once by a healthy control group of 63 adults (59 percent male).

The researchers found that at initial assessment, TBI participants performed significantly worse on all measures versus healthy controls. Shorter PTA duration, younger age, and higher premorbid IQ were associated with better initial cognitive performance among the TBI group. At follow-up two to five years after TBI, cognitive task performance improved significantly in the TBI group, but remained significantly below control group means. Greater cognitive recovery at follow-up was seen among higher premorbid IQ and younger age, while PTA duration was not.

"Additional research is needed to elucidate the biological mechanisms of cognitive reserve in cognitive recovery after TBI," the authors write.

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