Melissa M Amick

Melissa M Amick
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs | VA · Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress/ Spinalcord Injury

PhD

About

56
Publications
7,593
Reads
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1,905
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2009 - present
VA Boston Healthcare System
Position
  • Medical Professional
September 2005 - July 2009
Memorial Hospital
Position
  • Neuropsychologist
July 2003 - July 2005
Brown University
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (56)
Article
Cross‐sectional work suggests that deployment‐related posttraumatic sequelae are associated with increased disability in U.S. veterans deployed following the September 11, 2001 (9/11), terrorist attacks. However, few studies have examined the psychiatric and somatic variables associated with changes in functional disability over time. A total of 23...
Article
Returning veterans often face multiple concurrent psychiatric and behavioral conditions that negatively impact reintegration into civilian life and are associated with functional disability. Understanding how conditions interact to negatively impact functioning is an important step toward developing holistic treatment approaches optimized for this...
Article
The majority of research examining affective attentional bias in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has not examined the influence of co-occurring psychiatric disorders. This study examined the individual and interactive effects of PTSD symptoms and substance use disorders (SUDs) on affective attentional processing among 323 veterans deployed to...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of comorbid mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression, termed the deployment trauma phenotype (DTP), and its constituent diagnoses' impact on unemployment status in a national cohort of veterans. Setting: Retrospective analysis of the comprehensive TBI evaluat...
Article
Deficits in impulse control are increasingly recognized in association with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To our further understanding of the neurobiology of PTSD-related disinhibition, we examined alterations in brain morphology and network connectivity associated with response inhibition failures and PTSD severity. The sample consisted of...
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Full-text available
Understanding the factors that influence veterans' functional outcome after deployment is critical to provide appropriately targeted care. Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been related to disability, but other psychiatric and behavioral conditions are not as well examined. We investigated the impact o...
Article
Studies have shown that early life trauma may influence neural development and increase the risk of developing psychological disorders in adulthood. We used magnetic resonance imaging to examine the impact of early life trauma on the relationship between current posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and cortical thickness/subcortical volume...
Article
This study examined the performance of 198 Veteran research participants deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and/or Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) on four measures of performance validity: the Medical Symptom Validity Test (MSVT), California Verbal Learning Test: Forced Choice Recognition (FCR), Reliable Digit Spa...
Article
Full-text available
Mild traumatic brain injury is the signature injury of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND), yet its identification and diagnosis is controversial and fraught with challenges. In 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) implemented a policy requiring traumatic brain injury (TBI) screenin...
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Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) show a cognitive bias for threatening information, reflecting dysregulated executive control for affective stimuli. This study examined whether comorbid mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) with PTSD exacerbates this bias. A computer-administered Affective Go/No-Go task measured reaction times (R...
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Driving simulator performance was examined in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) Veterans to objectively evaluate driving abilities among this cohort who self-report poorer driving safety postdeployment. OIF/OEF Veterans (n = 25) and age- and education-matched civilian controls (n = 25) participated in a 30 min driving sim...
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Objective: Report the prevalence of lifetime and military-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans and validate the Boston Assessment of TBI-Lifetime (BAT-L). Setting: The BAT-L is the first validated, postcombat, semistructured clinical interview to characterize head in...
Article
Objective: To determine the association between clinical and demographic factors with employment status in post-deployment US military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Participants: 169 OIF/OEF veterans seen at a post-deployment clinic between December of 2009 and May of 2010. Methods: Data was collected retrospectively on employm...
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Full-text available
Visual and visuospatial dysfunction is prevalent in Parkinson's disease (PD). To promote assessment of these often overlooked symptoms, we adapted the PD Vision Questionnaire for Internet administration. The questionnaire evaluates visual and visuospatial symptoms, impairments in activities of daily living (ADLs), and motor symptoms. PD participant...
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Full-text available
We studied the prevalence and characteristics of self-reported driving difficulties and examined their association with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veterans who were seen at a Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient polytrauma clinic. In t...
Article
Cognitive impairment is common in Parkinson's disease (PD). There is a critical need for a brief, standard cognitive screening measure for use in PD trials whose primary focus is not on cognition. The Parkinson Study Group (PSG) Cognitive/Psychiatric Working Group formed a Task Force to make recommendations for a cognitive scale that could screen f...
Article
Cognitive impairment is common in Parkinson's disease (PD). There is a critical need for a brief, standard cognitive screening measure for use in PD trials whose primary focus is not on cognition. The Parkinson Study Group (PSG) Cognitive/Psychiatric Working Group formed a Task Force to make recommendations for a cognitive scale that could screen f...
Article
There is a high prevalence of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans returning with the "polytrauma clinical triad" of pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury. This study examined the effect of the polytrauma clinical triad on sleep disturbance, defined as difficulty falling or staying asleep, a common p...
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Full-text available
The driving abilities of service members returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) have not been well reported and are an important aspect of their return to normal life. This article reviews the unique risk factors for unsafe driving in this cohort. In particular, the cognitive and psychological symptoms of mi...
Article
There is currently a pressing need for safe, reliable, cost-effective methods of evaluating driving ability. With recent improvements in virtual reality technology, driving simulators seem to offer a promising alternative to on-road methods of driving assessment. One population at risk for driving difficulties may be veterans returning from combat...
Article
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between fear of falling and fall frequency among patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). One hundred-two participants with idiopathic PD were interviewed and examined. Participants reported the number of falls they had experienced in the preceding 3 months. They completed a mi...
Article
Olfactory deficits are frequent among patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). Additionally, apathy (as quantified by the Apathy Evaluation Scale), is more prevalent in PD patients compared to the general population. Olfactory impairment and apathy are associated with dysfunction in overlapping brain regions. Neuroimaging studies indicate...
Article
This study examined whether deep brain stimulation (DBS) would affect the contrast sensitivity (CS) curve in patients with PD. CS was tested in 12 nondemented PD patients treated with bilateral subthalamic nucleus DBS on and off stimulation and medications. Neither stimulation condition (on vs. off) nor medications altered CS performance in this gr...
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Full-text available
The role of corticostriatal circuits in hierarchical pattern perception was examined in Parkinson's disease. The hypothesis was tested that patients with right-side onset of motor symptoms (RPD, left hemisphere dysfunction) would be impaired at local level processing because the left posterior temporoparietal junction (TP) emphasizes processing of...
Article
To study the efficacy and safety of galantamine hydrobromide ER for the enhancement of cognition in non-demented Parkinson's patients (PD). Sixty-nine non-demented PD participants were randomised in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of galantamine or placebo. Galantamine was administered over 16 weeks (8 mg/day for 4 weeks, a therapeutic dos...
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Full-text available
This study examined the ability of computerized maze test performance to predict the road test performance of cognitively impaired and normal older drivers. The authors examined 133 older drivers, including 65 with probable Alzheimer disease, 23 with possible Alzheimer disease, and 45 control subjects without cognitive impairment. Subjects complete...
Article
We have observed that rhinorrhea is increased in people with Parkinson's disease (PD) but only a single publication supports this. We performed two separate case control studies to assess the prevalence of rhinorrhea in PD in Rhode Island. One was cross-sectional and the other in consecutive de novo patients. We further questioned subjects as to wh...
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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the asymptomatic phase of the infection impairs some aspects of cognition, but little is known about how visuospatial functions are affected. In the present study, performance on tasks of mental rotation and hierarchical pattern perception was investigated in 14 HIV-positive men and 12 age- and education-matche...
Article
This study assessed the clinical utility of contrast sensitivity (CS) relative to attention, executive function, and visuospatial abilities for predicting driving safety in participants with Parkinson's disease (PD). Twenty-five, non-demented PD patients completed measures of contrast sensitivity, visuospatial skills, executive functions, and atten...
Article
We examined the relationship between testosterone levels, violent dreams, and REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) in 31 men with Parkinson's disease (PD): 12 with clinical RBD and 19 without. All PD patients with clinical RBD experienced violent dreams, but none of the 19 non-RBD patients reported violent dreams. While dream content appears to be mor...
Article
The impact of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) on road test performance was examined in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Twenty-one patients with PD completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and an on-road driving test. Five participants had EDS according to their self-report on the ESS. Neither EDS nor PD medications were associated wi...
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Full-text available
The relation of body side of motor symptom onset in Parkinson's disease (PD) to memory measures associated with hemispheric dominance was examined. Fourteen patients with right body side motor symptom onset (RPD, inferred left hemisphere dysfunction) and 16 patients with left side onset (LPD, right hemisphere dysfunction) were administered measures...
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Full-text available
Parkinson's disease is primarily considered to be a movement disorder and is defined by its motor signs. Yet, the behavioral manifestations of the disease are often more debilitating than its motor complications. This review will focus on the non-motor aspects of Parkinson's disease, including mood, psychosis, cognitive, sleep, fatigue, apathy, del...
Article
Neuropsychological assessment has two primary roles in the DBS process. First, assessment of cognitive and emotional functioning ensures that only appropriate candidates undergo this surgical procedure. Patients with dementia, cognitive performance suggestive of an additional neuropathological process, or significant psychiatric impairments should...
Article
The mental rotation of objects requires visuospatial functions mediated by the parietal lobes, whereas the mental rotation of hands also engages frontal motor-system processes. Nondemented patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), a frontostriatal disorder, were predicted to be impaired on mentally rotating hands. Side of PD motor symptom onset was i...
Article
Full-text available
Neuropsychological and motor deficits in Parkinson's disease that may contribute to driving impairment were examined in a cohort study comparing patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) to patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and to healthy elderly controls. Nondemented individuals with Parkinson's disease [Hoehn & Yahr (H&Y) stage I-III], patients...
Article
Deficient perception and cognition in Parkinson's disease (PD) has been attributed to slow information processing, but an alternative explanation may be reduced signal strength. In 18 nondemented individuals with PD and 15 healthy adults, we enhanced the contrast level of rapidly flashed masked letters. The PD group required significantly higher co...
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Boston University, 2003. Vita. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 131-149).

Projects

Project (1)
Project
The broad goal of this project (known by the acronym TRACTS) is to characterize the psychological, biological and neurobiological consequences of deployment trauma in Veterans, and to understand the mechanisms through which individuals express vulnerability and resilience to the mental and physical effects of war.