Research Reports - Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and chronic cognitive impairment

PLoS One. 2017 Apr 11;12(4):e0174847. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174847.
eCollection 2017.

McInnes K(1,)(2), Friesen CL(1,)(3), MacKenzie DE(2,)(4), Westwood DA(2,)(3,)(5),
Boe SG(1,)(2,)(3,)(5).

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), or concussion, is the most common type of
traumatic brain injury. With mTBI comes symptoms that include headaches, fatigue,
depression, anxiety and irritability, as well as impaired cognitive function.
Symptom resolution is thought to occur within 3 months post-injury, with the
exception of a small percentage of individuals who are said to experience
persistent post-concussion syndrome. The number of individuals who experience
persistent symptoms appears to be low despite clear evidence of longer-term
pathophysiological changes resulting from mTBI. In light of the incongruency
between these longer-term changes in brain pathology and the number of
individuals with longer-term mTBI-related symptoms, particularly impaired
cognitive function, we performed a scoping review of the literature that
behaviourally assessed short- and long-term cognitive function in individuals
with a single mTBI, with the goal of identifying the impact of a single
concussion on cognitive function in the chronic stage post-injury. CINAHL,
Embase, and Medline/Ovid were searched July 2015 for studies related to
concussion and cognitive impairment. Data relating to the presence/absence of
cognitive impairment were extracted from 45 studies meeting our inclusion
criteria. Results indicate that, in contrast to the prevailing view that most
symptoms of concussion are resolved within 3 months post-injury, approximately
half of individuals with a single mTBI demonstrate long-term cognitive
impairment. Study limitations notwithstanding, these findings highlight the need
to carefully examine the long-term implications of a single mTBI. 

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