Updating memory after mild traumatic brain injury and orthopedic injuries

Gerri Hanten, Xiaoqi Li, Alyssa Ibarra, Elisabeth A. Wilde, Amanda Barnes, Stephen R. McCauley, James McCarthy, Shkelzen Hoxhaj, Donna Mendez, Jill V. Hunter, Harvey S. Levin, Douglas H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Few studies have examined the trajectory of recovery of executive function (EF) after mild TBI (mTBI). Therefore, consensus has not been reached on the incidence and extent of EF impairment after mTBI. The present study investigated trajectory of change in executive memory over 3 months after mTBI on 59 right-handed participants with mTBI, as defined by Centers for Disease Control criteria, ages 14-30 years, recruited within 96 hours post-injury and tested <1 week (baseline), 1 month, and 3 months after injury. Also included were 58 participants with orthopedic injury (OI) and 27 typically developing (TD) non-injured participants with similar age, socioeconomic status, sex, and ethnicity. MRI data were acquired at baseline and 3 months. Although criteria included a normal CT scan, lesions were detected by MRI in 19 mTBI patients. Participants completed the KeepTrack task, a verbal recall task placing demands on goal maintenance, semantic memory, and memory updating. Scores reflected items recalled and semantic categories maintained. The mTBI group was divided into two groups: high (score ≥12) or low (score <12) symptoms based on the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ). Mixed model analyses revealed the trajectory of change in mTBI patients (high and low RPQ), OI patients, and TD subjects were similar over time (although the TD group differed from other groups at baseline), suggesting no recovery from mTBI up to 90 days. For categories maintained, differences in trajectory of recovery were discovered, with the OI comparison group surprisingly performing similar to those in the mTBI group with high RPQ symptoms, and different from low RPQ and the TD groups, bringing up questions about utility of OIs as a comparison group for mTBI. Patients with frontal lesions (on MRI) were also found to perform worse than those without lesions, a pattern that became more pronounced with time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-624
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • cognition
  • executive function
  • memory
  • mild traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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