Research Reports - Predictors of very long-term socio-cognitive function after pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI)

J Neurotrauma. 2013 Oct 22

Ryan NP, Anderson V, Godfrey C, Beauchamp MH, Coleman L, Eren S, Rosema S, Taylor K, Catroppa C

Emotion perception forms an integral part of social communication, and is
critical to attain developmentally appropriate goals. This skill, which emerges
relatively early in development is driven by increasing connectivity among
regions of a distributed socio-cognitive neural network, and may be vulnerable to
disruption from early childhood TBI. The present study aimed to evaluate the very
long-term impact of childhood TBI on emotion perception, as well as examine the
contribution of injury and non-injury related risk and resilience factors to
variability in socio-cognitive outcomes. 34 young adult survivors of early
childhood TBI (M age= 20.62 years; M time since injury: 16.55 years) and 16
typically developing controls matched for age, gender and socio-economic status
(SES) were assessed using tasks that required recognition and interpretation of
facial and prosodic emotional cues. Survivors of severe childhood TBI were found
to have significantly poorer emotion perception than controls and young adults
with mild to moderate injuries. Furthermore, poorer emotion perception was
associated with reduced volume of the posterior corpus callosum, the presence of
frontal pathology, lower socio-economic status (SES), and a less intimate family
environment. Our findings lend support to the vulnerability of the immature
'social brain' network to early disruption, and underscore the need for
context-sensitive rehabilitation that optimizes early family environments to
enhance recovery of emotion perception skills after childhood TBI.

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