Neuropsychological outcome from blast versus non-blast: mild traumatic brain injury in U.S. military service members

Rael T Lange, Sonal Pancholi, Tracey A Brickell, Sara Sakura, Aditya Bhagwat, Victoria Merritt, Louis M French
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society: JINS 2012, 18 (3): 595-605
The purpose of this study was to compare the neuropsychological outcome from blast-related versus non-blast related mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Participants were 56 U.S. military service members who sustained an MTBI, divided into two groups based on mechanism of injury: (a) non-blast related (Non-blast; n = 21), and (b) blast plus secondary blunt trauma (Blast Plus; n = 35). All participants had sustained their injury in theatre whilst deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. Patients had been seen for neuropsychological evaluation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on average 4.4 months (SD = 4.1) post-injury. Measures included 14 clinical scales from the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) and 12 common neurocognitive measures. For the PAI, there were no significant differences between groups on all scales (p > .05). However, medium effect sizes were found for the Depression (d = .49) and Stress (d = .47) scales (i.e., Blast Plus > Non-blast). On the neurocognitive measures, after controlling for the influence of psychological distress (i.e., Depression, Stress), there were no differences between the Non-blast and Blast Plus groups on all measures. These findings provide little evidence to suggest that blast exposure plus secondary blunt trauma results in worse cognitive or psychological recovery than blunt trauma alone. (JINS, 2012, 18, 595-605).

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