In recent past,
traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been considered a single event in which the effects are static (stay
the same), even following rehabilitation. However, current research indicates
that TBI may be a long-term condition with long-lasting cognitive deficits
that may actually worsen over time. These consequences may include continued
atrophy of grey and white matter, resulting in greater than normal loss
of brain volume over long periods of time.
To better understand this, a recent study investigated the relationship
between TBI and overall brain volume loss over time. Researchers found
that participants with a history of TBI performed significantly lower
on neurocognitive tasks involving memory and attention than the control
non-TBI group, indicating significant cognitive impairment even several
years post-TBI. Furthermore, measurement of brain volume showed that the
TBI group had significantly reduced grey and white matter relative to
the control group.
These findings support the recent hypothesis that moderate to severe TBI
causes brain atrophy and general cognitive deficits that may last for
several years post-injury. To more effectively address rehabilitation
needs for TBI patients, longer periods of therapeutic assessment and intervention
should be considered.
Source: Konstantinou N, Pettemeridou E, Seimenis I, et al. Assessing the
relationship between neurocognitive performance and brain volume in chronic
moderate-severe traumatic brain injury. Frontiers in Neurology. (March 2016).