MONDAY, Feb. 6, 2023 (HealthDay News) – Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with long-term cognitive deficits, with further dose- and severity-dependent associations, according to a study published online Jan. 27 in the Journal of Neurotrauma.
Matthew J. Lennon, from University of New South Wales in Australia, and colleagues examined the longer-term cognitive effects of TBI severity and number of mild TBIs (mTBIs) in later life. The analysis included data from 15,764 participants ages 50 to 90 years in the PROTECT study who completed cognitive assessments annually for four years. Participants had suffered their last reported head injury on average 29.6 years prior to the study.
The researchers found no worsening in longitudinal cognitive trajectories over the study duration, but at baseline, there were significant cognitive deficits associated with TBI. At baseline, individuals reporting at least one moderate-to-severe TBI had significantly poorer attention (P < 0.001), executive scores (P = 0.004), and processing speed (P = 0.033) compared with those without head injury. Participants reporting at least a single mTBI also showed significantly poorer attention scores at baseline versus participants with no head injury (P = 0.001). Participants with three reported mTBIs at baseline showed poorer baseline executive function (P = 0.025) and attention scores (P = 0.015) compared with individuals with no mTBI, while those who had suffered four or more mTBIs showed poorer attention (P < 0.001), processing speed (P = 0.009), and working memory (P = 0.036) versus those reporting no mTBI.
“Post-TBI cognitive rehabilitation should be targeted appropriately to domain-specific effects. Significant long-term cognitive deficits were associated with three or more lifetime mTBIs, a critical consideration when counseling individuals post-TBI about continuing high-risk activities,” the authors write.
Several authors report financial ties to the pharmaceutical and technology industries.