Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Clinical and Conceptual Complexities

VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02130, USA.
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (Impact Factor: 3.01). 05/2012; 18(3):390-3. DOI: 10.1017/S1355617712000367
Source: PubMed


Available from: Sureyya Dikmen, Jul 28, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Throughout their careers, many soldiers experience repeated blasts exposures from improvised explosive devices, which often involve head injury. Consequentially, blast-related mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) has become prevalent in modern conflicts, often occuring co-morbidly with psychiatric illness (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]). In turn, a growing body of research has begun to explore the cognitive and psychiatric sequelae of blast-related mTBI. The current meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the chronic effects of blast-related mTBI on cognitive performance. A systematic review identified 9 studies reporting 12 samples meeting eligibility criteria. A Bayesian random-effects meta-analysis was conducted with cognitive construct and PTSD symptoms explored as moderators. The overall posterior mean effect size and Highest Density Interval (HDI) came to d = -0.12 [-0.21, -0.04], with executive function (-0.16 [-0.31, 0.00]), verbal delayed memory (-0.19 [-0.44, 0.06]) and processing speed (-0.11 [-0.26, 0.01]) presenting as the most sensitive cognitive domains to blast-related mTBI. When dividing executive function into diverse sub-constructs (i.e., working memory, inhibition, set-shifting), set-shifting presented the largest effect size (-0.33 [-0.55, -0.05]). PTSD symptoms did not predict cognitive effects sizes, β PTSD = -0.02 [-0.23, 0.20]. The results indicate a subtle, but chronic cognitive impairment following mTBI, especially in set-shifting, a relevant aspect of executive attention. These findings are consistent with past meta-analyses on multiple mTBI and correspond with past neuroimaging research on the cognitive correlates of white matter damage common in mTBI. However, all studies had cross-sectional designs, which resulted in universally low quality ratings and limited the conclusions inferable from this meta-analysis.
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the performance of veterans and active duty personnel who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and/or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) on a basic associative learning task. Eighty-eight individuals participated in this study. All received a comprehensive clinical evaluation to determine the presence and severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The eyeblink conditioning task was composed of randomly intermixed delay and trace conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (US) pairs (acquisition) followed by a series of CS only trials (extinction). Results revealed that those with a clinical diagnosis of PTSD or a diagnosis of PTSD with comorbid mTBI acquired delay and trace conditioned responses (CRs) to levels and at rates similar to a deployed control group, thus suggesting intact basic associative learning. Differential extinction impairment was observed in the two clinical groups. Acquisition of CRs for both delay and trace conditioning, as well as extinction of trace CRs, was associated with alcoholic behavior across all participants. These findings help characterize the learning and memory function of individuals with PTSD and mTBI from OEF/OIF and raise the alarming possibility that the use of alcohol in this group may lead to more significant cognitive dysfunction.
    International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 03/2014; 11(3):3046-73. DOI:10.3390/ijerph110303046 · 1.99 Impact Factor