Some researchers have found that day-of-injury alcohol intoxication is associated with worse outcome following traumatic brain injury (TBI). The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of day-of-injury intoxication on the acute neuropsychological outcome from TBI. Participants were 36 patients with TBI (18 sober, 18 intoxicated) matched on injury severity characteristics and demographic variables. A larger group of 146 patients (112 sober, 36 intoxicated) with TBI was also selected for analyses; not matched on injury severity or demographic variables. Patients had no history of pre-injury alcoholism and were assessed within 10 days post-injury on 13 cognitive measures. Unexpectedly, patients who were sober at the time of injury performed lower on many of the cognitive measures compared to those who were intoxicated. In contrast to the research literature, these results suggest that individuals who were intoxicated at the time of injury performed similarly, and in some cases, better than those who were sober at the time of injury.

Author notes

A portion of these data were presented at the annual conference of the Research Society on Alcoholism, July 2007, Chicago, Illinois, USA.