Research Reports - Predictors of very-long-term sociocognitive function after pediatric traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2013 Dec 20

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

Abstract Emotion perception (EP) 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 sociocognitive neural network and may be
vulnerable to disruption from early-childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI). The
present study aimed to evaluate the very-long-term effect of childhood TBI on EP,
as well as examine the contribution of injury- and non-injury-related risk and
resilience factors to variability in sociocognitive outcomes. Thirty-four young
adult survivors of early-childhood TBI (mean [M], 20.62 years; M time since
injury, 16.55 years) and 16 typically developing controls matched for age,
gender, and socioeconomic status 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.
Further, poorer emotion perception was associated with reduced volume of the
posterior corpus callosum, presence of frontal pathology, lower 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 EP skills after childhood TBI.

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