Comparison of concussive symptoms, cognitive performance, and psychological symptoms between acute blast-versus nonblast-induced mild traumatic brain injury

Cynthia A Luethcke, Craig J Bryan, Chad E Morrow, William C Isler
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society: JINS 2011, 17 (1): 36-45
Blast-related head injuries are one of the most prevalent injuries among military personnel deployed in service of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Although several studies have evaluated symptoms after blast injury in military personnel, few studies compared them to nonblast injuries or measured symptoms within the acute stage after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Knowledge of acute symptoms will help deployed clinicians make important decisions regarding recommendations for treatment and return to duty. Furthermore, differences more apparent during the acute stage might suggest important predictors of the long-term trajectory of recovery. This study evaluated concussive, psychological, and cognitive symptoms in military personnel and civilian contractors (N = 82) diagnosed with mild TBI (mTBI) at a combat support hospital in Iraq. Participants completed a clinical interview, the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metric (ANAM), PTSD Checklist-Military Version (PCL-M), Behavioral Health Measure (BHM), and Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) within 72 hr of injury. Results suggest that there are few differences in concussive symptoms, psychological symptoms, and neurocognitive performance between blast and nonblast mTBIs, although clinically significant impairment in cognitive reaction time for both blast and nonblast groups is observed. Reductions in ANAM accuracy were related to duration of loss of consciousness, not injury mechanism.

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