Objective: To determine the impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and heavy weapons (HW) blast exposure on neuropsychological functioning in a military cohort. Method: Our cross-sectional study consisted of 52 active duty service members with a history of HW use. Participants were male ranging in age from 22-37 years. Twenty reported prior combat deployment, 21 met criteria for Post-Concussive Disorder, and 3 met criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. All participants completed structured interviews assessing self-report TBI and blast exposure history, as well as a battery of neuropsychological tests: Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R), Trail Making Tests (TMT), Go-no-go (GNG), Procedural Reaction Time (PRT), and simple Reaction Time (RT). Results: There was a significant correlation between HW blast exposure and GNG accuracy, r(52) = -.30, p = .016, and a significant correlation with median reaction time on the RT task, r(52) = .24, p = .042. There was no significant relationship between TBI history and neuropsychological performance. Conclusion: Service members with higher numbers of HW blast exposures showed decreased accuracy and increased reaction times on inhibition and processing speed, respectively. HW blast exposure did not have an impact on verbal/learning memory, executive function, or visual scanning, nor did TBI history have an impact on neuropsychological performance. Results suggest that cognitive processes are more affected by HW blast exposure than TBI history; however, there is a need for further investigation. Future studies should assess the impact of long-term, repetitive HW blast exposure, combat experience, and mental health on neuropsychological processes.
The Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury and Heavy Weapons Blast Exposure on Neuropsychological Functioning in the Military
M Hussain, J Bailie, M Jolly, B Powell, P Sargent, J Duckworth; B-25
The Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury and Heavy Weapons Blast Exposure on Neuropsychological Functioning in the Military. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2016; 31 (6): 622. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acw043.100
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