Maja Stulemeijer

Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Provincie Gelderland, Netherlands

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Publications (15)73.1 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Memory deficits are among the most frequently reported sequelae of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), especially early after injury. To date, these cognitive deficits remain poorly understood, as in most patients the brain is macroscopically intact. To identify the mechanism by which MTBI causes declarative memory impairments, we probed the functionality of the medial temporal lobe (MTL) and the prefrontal cortex (PFC), within 6 weeks after injury in 43 patients from a consecutive cohort, and matched healthy controls. In addition to neuropsychological measures of declarative memory and other cognitive domains, all subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Behavioral results showed poorer declarative memory performance in patients than controls, and decreasing performance with increasing duration of post-traumatic amnesia (a measure of injury severity). Task performance in the scanner was, as intended by the task and design, similar in patients and controls, and did not relate to injury severity. The task used reliably activated the MTL and PFC. Although we did not find significant differences in brain activity when comparing patients and controls, we revealed, in agreement with our neuropsychological findings, an inverse correlation between MTL activity and injury severity. In contrast, no difference in prefrontal activation was found between patients and controls, nor was there a relation with injury severity. On a behavioral level, injury severity was inversely related to declarative memory performance. In all, these findings suggest that reduced medial temporal functionality may contribute to poorer declarative memory performance in the post-acute stage of MTBI, especially in patients with longer post-traumatic amnesia.
    Journal of neurotrauma 09/2010; 27(9):1585-95. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is known to reduce fatigue severity in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). How this change in symptomatology is accomplished is not yet understood. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether the effect of CBT on fatigue is mediated by an increase in physical activity. Three randomized controlled trials were reanalysed, previously conducted to evaluate the efficacy of CBT for CFS. In all samples, actigraphy was used to assess the level of physical activity prior and subsequent to treatment or a control group period. The mediation hypothesis was analysed according to guidelines of Baron & Kenny [Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (1986)51, 1173-1182]. A non-parametric bootstrap approach was used to test statistical significance of the mediation effect. Although CBT effectively reduced fatigue, it did not change the level of physical activity. Furthermore, changes in physical activity were not related to changes in fatigue. Across the samples, the mean mediation effect of physical activity averaged about 1% of the total treatment effect. This effect did not yield significance in any of the samples. The effect of CBT on fatigue in CFS is not mediated by a persistent increase in physical activity.
    Psychological Medicine 08/2010; 40(8):1281-7. · 5.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can decrease the level of fatigue and disabilities, but it has been suggested that during therapy some patients experience a deterioration of their symptoms rather than an improvement. The aim of this study is to examine the frequency and severity of symptom deterioration during CBT for CFS. Data from 3 randomised controlled trials on CBT for CFS were pooled and reanalysed. Symptom deterioration during the trial was rated by patients and measured as deterioration in fatigue, pain, functional impairment and psychological distress. Both the frequency and severity of deterioration in these domains were compared between the patients receiving CBT and those in the control group. Predictors of symptom deterioration were identified by comparing their means in patients with and without an increase in fatigue. Statistically significant predictors were then combined in a logistic regression model. The frequency of symptom deterioration varied from 2 to 12% in patients receiving CBT and from 7 to 17% in the control group. None of the measures showed a significantly higher frequency of symptom deterioration in the CBT group. The severity of deterioration was also comparable in the CBT and in the control group. No predictors of symptom deterioration specific to CBT were found. Patients receiving CBT do not experience more frequent or more severe symptom deterioration than untreated patients. The reported deterioration during CBT seems to reflect the natural variation in symptoms. Thus, CBT is not only a helpful, but also a safe treatment for CFS.
    Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 06/2010; 79(4):249-56. · 9.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a common heterogeneous neurological disorder with a wide range of possible clinical outcomes. Accurate prediction of outcome is desirable for optimal treatment. This study aimed both to identify the demographic, clinical, and computed tomographic (CT) characteristics associated with unfavorable outcome at 6 months after mTBI, and to design a prediction model for application in daily practice. All consecutive mTBI patients (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score: 13-15) admitted to our hospital who were age 16 or older were included during an 8-year period as part of the prospective Radboud University Brain Injury Cohort Study (RUBICS). Outcome was assessed at 6 months post-trauma using the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended (GOSE), dichotomized into unfavorable (GOSE score 1-6) and favorable (GOSE score 7-8) outcome groups. The predictive value of several variables was determined using multivariate binary logistic regression analysis. We included 2784 mTBI patients and found CT abnormalities in 20.7% of the 1999 patients that underwent a head CT. Age, extracranial injuries, and day-of-injury alcohol intoxication proved to be the strongest outcome predictors. The presence of facial fractures and the number of hemorrhagic contusions emerged as CT predictors. Furthermore, we showed that the predictive value of a scheme based on a modified Injury Severity Score (ISS), alcohol intoxication, and age equalled the value of one that also included CT characteristics. In fact, it exceeded one that was based on CT characteristics alone. We conclude that, although valuable for the identification of the individual mTBI patient at risk for deterioration and eventual neurosurgical intervention, CT characteristics are imperfect predictors of outcome after mTBI.
    Journal of neurotrauma 04/2010; 27(4):655-68. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    M Stulemeijer, S van der Werf, G F Borm, P E Vos
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    ABSTRACT: Predicting outcome after mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is notoriously difficult. Although it is recognised that milder head injuries do not necessarily mean better outcomes, less is known about the factors that do enable early identification of patients who are likely to recover well. To develop and internally validate two prediction rules for identifying patients who have the highest chance for good 6 month recovery. A prospective cohort study was conducted among patients with MTBI admitted to the emergency department. Apart from MTBI severity indices, a range of pre-, peri- and early post-injury variables were considered as potential predictors, including emotional and physical functioning. Logistic regression modelling was used to predict the absence of postconcussional symptoms (PCS) and full return to work (RTW). At follow-up, 64% of the 201 participating patients reported full recovery. Based on our prediction rules, patients without premorbid physical problems, low levels of PCS and post-traumatic stress early after injury had a 90% chance of remaining free of PCS. Patients with over 11 years of education, without nausea or vomiting on admission, with no additional extracranial injuries and only low levels of pain early after injury had a 90% chance of full RTW. The discriminative ability of the prediction models was satisfactory, with an area under the curve >0.70 after correction for optimism. Early identification of patients with MTBI who are likely to have good 6 month recovery was feasible on the basis of relatively simple prognostic models. A score chart was derived from the models to facilitate clinical application.
    Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 08/2008; 79(8):936-42. · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this work was to assess the long-term outcome of adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome who received cognitive behavioral therapy and to determine the predictive value of fatigue severity and physical impairments of the adolescent and the fatigue severity of the mother at baseline for the outcome of the treatment at follow-up. Sixty-six adolescent patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who previously participated in a randomized, controlled trial that showed that cognitive behavioral therapy was more effective than a waiting-list condition in reducing fatigue and improving physical functioning were contacted for a follow-up assessment. Fifty participants of the follow-up study had received cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome (32 formed the cognitive behavioral therapy group in the original trial, and 18 patients received cognitive behavioral therapy after the waiting period). The remaining 16 patients had refused cognitive behavioral therapy after the waiting period. The main outcome measures were fatigue severity (Checklist Individual Strength), physical functioning (Short-Form General Health Survey), and school attendance. Data were complete for 61 patients at follow-up (cognitive behavioral therapy group: 47 patients; no-treatment group: 14 patients). The mean follow-up time was 2.1 years. There was no significant change in fatigue severity between posttreatment and follow-up in the cognitive behavioral therapy group. There was a significant further increase in physical functioning and school attendance (10% increase). The adolescents in the cognitive behavioral therapy group were significantly less fatigued and significantly less functionally impaired and had higher school attendance at follow-up than those in the no-treatment group. Fatigue severity of the mother was a significant predictor of treatment outcome. The positive effects of cognitive behavioral therapy in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome are sustained after cognitive behavioral therapy. Higher fatigue severity of the mother predicts lower treatment outcome in adolescent patients.
    PEDIATRICS 04/2008; 121(3):e619-25. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To compare nonreferred, emergency department (ED)-admitted mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) patients with and without self-reported cognitive complaints on (1) demographic variables and injury characteristics; (2) neuropsychological test performance; (3) 12-day self-monitoring of perceived cognitive problems; and (4) emotional distress, physical functioning, and personality. (Neuro)psychological assessment was carried out 6 months post-injury in 79 patients out of a cohort of 618 consecutive MTBI patients aged 18-60, who attended the ED of our level I trauma centre. Cognitive complaints were assessed with the Rivermead Postconcussional Symptoms Questionnaire (RPSQ). In addition, patients monitored concentration problems and forgetfulness during 12 consecutive days. Self-reported cognitive complaints were reported by 39% of the patients. These complaints were strongly related to lower educational levels, emotional distress, personality, and poorer physical functioning (especially fatigue) but not to injury characteristics. Severity of self-reported cognitive complaints was neither associated with the patients' daily observations of cognitive problems nor with outcome on a range of neuropsychological tests. Self-reported cognitive complaints were more strongly related to premorbid traits and physical and emotional state factors than to actual cognitive impairments. In line with previous work, this suggests that treatment of emotional distress and fatigue may also reduce cognitive complaints. Cognitive outcome assessment of symptomatic MTBI patients should not be restricted to checklist ratings only, but also include a (neuro)psychological screening. In addition, daily monitoring of complaints is a useful method to gather information about the frequency and pattern of cognitive problems in daily life.
    Journal of Psychosomatic Research 01/2008; 63(6):637-45. · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) frequently report chronic pain symptoms. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for CFS results in a reduction of fatigue, but is not aimed at pain symptoms. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that a successful treatment of CFS can also lead to a reduction of pain. The second objective was to explore possible mechanisms of changes in pain. The third objective was to assess the predictive value of pain for treatment outcome. Data from two previous CBT studies were used, one of adult CFS patients (n=96) and one of adolescent CFS patients (n=32). Pain severity was assessed with a daily self-observation list at baseline and post-treatment. The location of pain in adults was assessed with the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ). Patients were divided into recovered and non-recovered groups. Recovery was defined as reaching a post-treatment level of fatigue within normal range. Recovered adult and adolescent CFS patients reported a significant reduction of pain severity compared to non-recovered patients. Recovered adult patients also had fewer pain locations following treatment. The decrease in fatigue predicted the change in pain severity. In adult patients, a higher pain severity at baseline was associated with a negative treatment outcome.
    Behaviour Research and Therapy 10/2007; 45(9):2034-43. · 3.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) often have concentration and memory problems. Neuropsychological test performance is impaired in at least a subgroup of patients with CFS. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for CFS leads to a reduction in fatigue and disabilities. To test the hypothesis that CBT results in a reduction of self-reported cognitive impairment and in an improved neuropsychological test performance. Data of two previous randomised controlled trials were used. One study compared CBT for adult patients with CFS, with two control conditions. The second study compared CBT for adolescent patients with a waiting list condition. Self-reported cognitive impairment was assessed with questionnaires. Information speed was measured with simple and choice reaction time tasks. Adults also completed the symbol digit-modalities task, a measure of complex attentional function. In both studies, the level of self-reported cognitive impairment decreased significantly more after CBT than in the control conditions. Neuropsychological test performance did not improve. CBT leads to a reduction in self-reported cognitive impairment, but not to improved neuropsychological test performance. The findings of this study support the idea that the distorted perception of cognitive processes is more central to CFS than actual cognitive performance.
    Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 05/2007; 78(4):434-6. · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To compare consecutive Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) patients with and without adequate effort on cognitive performance, litigation status, fatigue, distress and personality. (Neuro)psychological assessment was done 6 months post-injury in 110 patients from a cohort of 618 consecutive MTBI patients aged 18-60, who attended the emergency department of our level I trauma centre. Effort was tested with the Amsterdam Short Term Memory test. Thirty patients (27%) failed the effort test. Poor effort was associated with significantly poorer scores on seven out of eleven measures, covering all tested domains. Poor effort was associated with lower educational level and changes in work status, but not litigation. Furthermore, poor effort was related to high levels of distress, Type-D personality and fatigue. Even in a sample of non-referred MTBI patients, poor effort was common and was strongly associated with inferior test performance. These findings imply that effort testing should be part of all cognitive assessments, also outside mediolegal settings. Behavioural factors like distress and personality should be considered as potential threats to the validity of neuropsychological testing after MTBI.
    Brain Injury 04/2007; 21(3):309-18. · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) concurrently sustain extracranial injuries; however, little is known about the impact of these additional injuries on outcome. We assessed the impact of additional injuries on the severity of postconcussional symptoms (PCS) and functional outcome 6 months post-injury. A questionnaire (including the Rivermead Post-Concussion Questionnaire and SF-36) was sent to consecutive MTBI patients (hospital admission Glasgow Coma Score 13-15; age range 18-60 years) admitted to the emergency department of a level-I trauma center, and, to serve as a baseline for PCS, a control group of minor-injury patients (ankle or wrist distortion). Of the 299 MTBI respondents (response rate 52%), 89 had suffered additional injuries (mean Injury Severity Score [ISS] of 14.5 +/- 7.4). After 6 months, 44% of the patients with additional injuries were still in some form of treatment, compared to 14% of patients with isolated MTBI and 5% of the controls. Compared to patients with isolated injury, MTBI patients with additional injuries had resumed work less frequently and reported more limitations in physical functioning. Overall, they did not report higher levels of PCS, despite somewhat more severe head injury. Regardless of the presence of additional injuries, patients that were still in treatment reported significantly more severe PCS, with highest rates in patients with isolated MTBI. In conclusion, many patients with additional extracranial injuries are still in the process of recovery at 6 months after injury. However, despite more severe impact to the head and inferior functional outcomes, these patients do not report more severe PCS.
    Journal of Neurotrauma 11/2006; 23(10):1561-9. · 4.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fatigue is one of the most frequently reported symptoms after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI). To date, systematic and comparative studies on fatigue after MTBI are scarce, and knowledge on causal mechanisms is lacking. To determine the severity of fatigue six months after MTBI and its relation to outcome. Furthermore, to test whether injury indices, such as Glasgow Coma Scale scores, are related to higher levels of fatigue. Postal questionnaires were sent to a consecutive group of patients with an MTBI and a minor-injury control group, aged 18-60, six months after injury. Fatigue severity was measured with the Checklist Individual Strength. Postconcussional symptoms and limitations in daily functioning were assessed using the Rivermead Post Concussion Questionnaire and the SF-36. A total of 299 out of 618 eligible (response rate 52%) MTBI patients and 287 out of 482 eligible (response rate 60%) minor-injury patients returned the questionnaire. Ninety-five MTBI patients (32%) and 35 control patients (12%) were severely fatigued. Severe fatigue was highly associated with the experience of other symptoms, limitations in physical and social functioning, and fatigue related problems like reduced activity. Of various trauma severity indices, nausea and headache experienced on the ED were significantly related to higher levels of fatigue at six months. In conclusion, one third of a large sample of MTBI patients experiences severe fatigue six months after injury, and this experience is associated with limitations in daily functioning. Our finding that acute symptoms and mechanism of injury rather than injury severity indices appear to be related to higher levels of fatigue warrants further investigation.
    Journal of Neurology 09/2006; 253(8):1041-7. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the efficacy of cognitive behaviour therapy for adolescents aged 10-17 years with chronic fatigue syndrome. Randomised controlled trial. Department of child psychology. 71 consecutively referred patients with chronic fatigue syndrome; 36 were randomly assigned to immediate cognitive behaviour therapy and 35 to the waiting list for therapy. 10 sessions of therapy over five months. Treatment protocols depended on the type of activity pattern (relatively active or passive). All participants were assessed again after five months. Fatigue severity (checklist individual strength), functional impairment (SF-36 physical functioning), and school attendance. 62 patients had complete data at five months (29 in the immediate therapy group and 33 on the waiting list). Patients in the therapy group reported significantly greater decrease in fatigue severity (difference in decrease on checklist individual strength was 14.5, 95% confidence interval 7.4 to 21.6) and functional impairment (difference in increase on SF-36 physical functioning was 17.3, 6.2 to 28.4) and their attendance at school increased significantly (difference in increase in percentage school attendance was 18.2, 0.8 to 35.5). They also reported a significant reduction in several accompanying symptoms. Self reported improvement was largest in the therapy group. Cognitive behaviour therapy is an effective treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome in adolescents.
    BMJ (online) 02/2005; 330(7481):14. · 17.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: .StulemeijerM, de JongLWAM, FiselierTJW, HoogveldSWB, BleijenbergG. ( 2005) , 330, 1417. Objective To evaluate the efficacy of cognitive behaviour therapy for adolescents aged 10 to 17 years with chronic fatigue syndrome. Design Randomized controlled trial. Setting Department of child psychology. Participants A total of 71 consecutively referred patients with chronic fatigue syndrome; 36 were randomly assigned to immediate cognitive behaviour therapy and 35 to the waiting list for therapy. Intervention Ten sessions of therapy over 5 months. Treatment protocols depended on the type of activity pattern (relatively active or passive). All participants were assessed again after 5 months. Main outcome measures Fatigue severity (checklist individual strength), functional impairment (SF-36 physical functioning), and school attendance. Results A total of 62 patients had complete data at 5 months (29 in the immediate therapy group and 33 on the waiting list). Patients in the therapy group reported significantly greater decrease in fatigue severity (difference in decrease on checklist individual strength was 14.5, 95% confidence interval 7.4 to 21.6) and functional impairment (difference in increase on SF-36 physical functioning was 17.3, 6.2 to 28.4) and their attendance at school increased significantly (difference in increase in percentage school attendance was 18.2, 0.8 to 35.5). They also reported a significant reduction in several accompanying symptoms. Self reported improvement was largest in the therapy group. Conclusion Cognitive behaviour therapy is an effective treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome in adolescents.
    Child Care Health and Development 01/2005; 31(3). · 1.70 Impact Factor
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Publication Stats

372 Citations
73.10 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006–2010
    • Radboud University Nijmegen
      • • Department of Neurology
      • • Medical Centre
      • • Department of Medical Psychology
      Nijmegen, Provincie Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 2005–2008
    • Radboud University Medical Centre (Radboudumc)
      • • Department of Human Genetics
      • • Department of Neurology
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands