Studies of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) conclude that victims suffer chronic cognitive difficulties. However, the wide variability of the results of these studies prevents more accurate conclusions about the pervasiveness of cognitive deficit in the mTBI population.
Researchers in a recent study asked both mTBI and non-head injury participants to complete tasks measuring their information processing speeds and working memory. Researchers observed a correlation between poorer performance of these tasks by study participants with mTBI and persistent post-concussion syndrome (PCS), with a stronger correlation for mTBI participants with low sleep quality, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and symptoms of PCS.
The results of the study imply that initial injury is a more reliable marker of long-term chronic cognitive difficulties than reported symptoms. By focusing on the initial injury, directors of future studies can reduce the variability of the conclusions based on their observations.
Dean P, Sterr A. Long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injury on cognitive performance. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. (February 2013).