Research Reports - Alcohol consumption does not impede recovery from traumatic brain injury

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2016 Sep;22(8):816-27. doi: 10.1017/S1355617716000692.
Epub 2016 Aug 18.

Silverberg ND(1), Panenka W(2), Iverson GL(3), Brubacher JR(4), Shewchuk JR(5),
Heran MK(5), Oh GC(5), Honer WG(6), Lange RT(6).

OBJECTIVES: To examine the effect of pre-injury alcohol use, acute alcohol
intoxication, and post-injury alcohol use on outcome from mild to moderate
traumatic brain injury (TBI).
METHODS: Prospective inception cohort of patients who presented to the Emergency
Department with mild to moderate TBI and had a blood alcohol level (BAL) taken
for clinical purposes. Those who completed the 1-year outcome assessment were
eligible for this study (N=91). Outcomes of interest were the count of
post-concussion symptoms (British Columbia Post-Concussion Symptom Inventory),
low neuropsychological test scores (Neuropsychological Assessment Battery), and
abnormal regions of interest on diffusion tensor imaging (low fractional
anisotropy). The main predictors were pre-injury alcohol consumption (Cognitive
Lifetime Drinking History interview), BAL, and post-injury alcohol use.
RESULTS: The alcohol use variables were moderately to strongly inter-correlated.
None of the alcohol use variables (whether continuous or categorical) were
related to 1-year TBI outcomes in generalized linear modeling. Participants in
this cohort generally had a good clinical outcome, regardless of their pre-,
peri-, and post-injury alcohol use.
CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol may not significantly alter long-term outcome from mild to
moderate TBI. 

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