Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Acute Decline: What Role Does Environmental Enrichment Play? A Scoping Review

Cyclist Injured in Bike Accident

Numerous studies demonstrate that neural and cognitive decline occurs in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patients after the initial injury. However, little research has been conducted related to environmental factors that may influence these occurrences.

Researchers at the University of Toronto examined how environmental enrichment (EE) relates to neural and cognitive factors in TBI patients. EE is defined as environments that provide the opportunity for cognitive, physical, and social stimulation, and conditions that encourage maximal participation.

The researchers examined existing research on EE and found that in 123 published articles, EE was found to positively affect the brain and behavior. In addition, they found evidence to suggest that a lack of EE can have a negative effect on the brain and behavior. They suggest that maximizing EE may positively affect the long-term brain health of TBI patients.

Frasca D, Tomaszczyk J, et al.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. (April 2013).