The latest medical research on Brain Injury Medicine

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about brain injury medicine gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Family Needs After Traumatic Brain Injury: A VA TBI Model Systems Study.

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

To describe the self-reported needs of family caregivers of service members and veterans (SMVs) who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to identify predictors of the unmet family caregiver needs.

Descriptive analyses were conducted on the FNQ-R responses at the item, domain, and total score levels. Unadjusted univariable and adjusted multivariable regression models were fitted to identify predictors of total unmet needs and unmet family need domains.

FNQ-R item-level and domain-level descriptive results indicated that health information was the most frequently met need domain. In contrast, emotional and instrumental support domains were the least often met. On average, family caregivers reported that 59.2% of the 37 FNQ-R needs were met at the time of the follow-up assessment. Regression models indicated that both the number of SMV-perceived environmental barriers and whether the SMV received mental health treatment within the past year predicted the number of unmet FNQ-R needs. SMV-reported environmental barriers predicted increased unmet needs in all 6 family caregiver domains, and SMV mental health treatment in the past year predicted more unmet family caregiver emotional support, community support, and professional support needs.

The current findings can be used to inform policy and programming for VA and Department of Defense to proactively address the specific needs of families and caregivers experienced in the first 5 years post-TBI.

Research Letter: Impact of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Disease Duration on Neuropsychological Functioning After Traumatic Brain Injury: A Veterans Affairs TBI Model Systems Study.

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

To examine the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) disease duration and cognitive functioning in those with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI). We hypothesized that longer OSA duration would predict poorer cognitive performance.

Brief Test of Adult Cognition by Telephone (BTACT).

Controlling for age, education, and time to follow commands, OSA disease duration was negatively associated with delayed verbal memory (R2Δ = 0.053, F(1,84) = 5.479, P = .022). Performance in other cognitive domains was not significantly associated with OSA disease duration.

This study provides preliminary evidence that longer duration of OSA (ie, time since diagnosis) has a negative impact on verbal memory in those with a history of hospitalized TBI. This finding extends the literature (which focused on the general population) on the cognitive impact of OSA and is consistent with hypothesized mechanisms such as hippocampal damage and secondary impact of fatigue. Findings suggest that early OSA identification and treatment may be prudent for persons with TBI.

Examining the Evidence From Single-Case Experimental Designs to Treat Challenging Behaviors Following Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury.

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

To evaluate evidence on the effectiveness of behavioral interventions using single-case experimental design (SCED) methodology and to identify behavioral interventions with sufficient evidence for possible inclusion in the development of guidelines for the management of challenging behaviors in adults following moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

As a subinvestigation of a larger systematic review process designed to identify evidence for guidelines development, the current review focused on studies using SCED methodology applied to persons with challenging behaviors following moderate to severe TBI. Articles were identified from a search of the published literature through January 2021, identifying studies in CINAHL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, EMBASE, MEDLINE/Ovid, and PsycINFO. Articles meeting inclusion criteria were assessed for design rigor to allow for effect size determination. The identified cases were then critically appraised using the RoBiNT (Risk-of-Bias in N-of-1 Trails) Scale to determine strength of evidence for causal inference.

Thirty-four studies met inclusion criteria, with a total of 44 cases evaluated for effect of the treatment intervention on defined target behaviors. Seventeen cases had effect sizes rated as large, 22 cases as medium, 3 cases as small, and 3 as no effect. An observed trend was for large and medium effect sizes to be associated with lower RoBiNT Scale internal validity scores. Randomization, blinded provider and assessor, and assessment of treatment adherence were the internal validity items unlikely to meet criteria.

SCED methodology was found to produce large and medium effect sizes for behavioral interventions targeting challenging behaviors following moderate to severe TBI. However, the strength of the evidence is limited because of weaknesses in study designs. Most of the studies failed to meet established internal validity criteria designed to reduce risk of bias in SCED studies as such rigor is difficult to establish or often not practical in clinical settings. Suggestions and recommendations are outlined for improving the quality of published cases using SCED methodology, which, in turn, will improve credibility of evidence and better inform the development of treatment guidelines for behavior regulation.

Intimate Partner Violence-Related Brain Injury Among Colombian Women.

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of brain injury (BI) and its relationship to cognitive and psychological outcomes in women survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) in Colombia, South America.

Participants were administered the computerized EMBRACED neuropsychological battery to assess learning, working and long-term memory, cognitive flexibility, and processing speed. Participants also completed measures of psychological symptoms. Partner violence severity was assessed with a semistructured interview for survivors of domestic violence. Presence and severity of IPV-related BI were assessed using the Brain Injury Severity Assessment (BISA).

Thirty-one percent of women sustained at least one BI during an abusive relationship, and 10% sustained repetitive BIs. Furthermore, BI was negatively associated with measures of long-term and working memory, cognitive flexibility, as well as a trending (P = .05) positive association with depression. With the exception of the relationship between BI and cognitive flexibility, which was substantially reduced and no longer significant, all of these relationships were nearly identical in strength when controlling for abuse severity, socioeconomic status, and educational level.

These data are the first to specifically examine IPV-related BI in relation to cognitive and psychological functioning in a sample of Colombian women. These data add cross-cultural knowledge to the limited work in this area that has largely focused on women in North America.

Associations of Preexisting Vascular Risk Factors With Outcomes After Traumatic Brain Injury: A TRACK-TBI Study.

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

To evaluate associations of preinjury vascular risk factors with traumatic brain injury (TBI) outcomes.

Vascular risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and smoking) were assessed at baseline by self- or proxy-report and chart review. The primary outcome was the 6-month Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended TBI version (GOSE-TBI). Secondary 6-month outcomes included the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), and the 18-item Brief Symptom Inventory Global Severity Index (BSI-18-GSI).

Mean age of participants was 42 years, 31% were women, and 16% were Black. Current smoking was the most common vascular risk factor (29%), followed by hypertension (17%), diabetes (8%), and hyperlipidemia (6%). Smoking was the only risk factor associated with worse scores on all 4 outcome indices. Hypertension and diabetes were associated with worse RPQ scores, and hypertension was associated with worse BSI-18-GSI scores (all P < .05). Compared with individuals with no vascular risk factors, individuals with 1 but not 2 or more vascular risk factors had significantly worse GOSE-TBI and SWLS scores, while a higher burden of vascular risk factors was significantly associated with worse RPQ and BSI-18-GSI scores.

Our study found that preinjury vascular risk factors, especially smoking, are associated with worse outcomes after TBI. Aggressive postinjury treatment of vascular risk factors may be a promising strategy to improve TBI outcomes.

Lower Extremity Somatosensory Function Throughout Concussion Recovery: A Prospective Cohort Study.

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

Balance impairments may suggest somatosensory disruption beyond concussion clinical recovery, but somatosensory subsystems have never been directly assessed. Our objective was to examine somatosensory function between individuals with a concussion and healthy matched-controls at acute (<7 days) and asymptomatic (<72 hours of being symptom-free) time points.

Somatosensory assessments on the dominant limb at both time points included: (1) plantar touch sensation threshold via Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments, (2) plantar pressure pain threshold via algometry, and (3) knee absolute passive joint repositioning (PJR) error via Biodex across 3 arcs (105°-75°, 30°-60°, 90°-45° knee-flexion). We used mixed-model analyses of variance, post hoc Tukey honestly significant difference t tests with mean difference, 95% CI, and Hedges' g effect sizes to examine outcomes.

Touch sensation had a group effect with the concussion cohort needing 0.95 grams of force (gf) more relative to controls (95% CI: 0.03 to 1.87; P = .043). No touch sensation interaction was present, but medium and large effects were observed for greater gf needed among the concussed cohort at the acute (1.11 gf; 95% CI: 0.17 to 2.05; g = 0.96) and asymptomatic time points (0.79 gf; 95% CI: -0.15 to 1.73; g = 0.73). No plantar pressure pain threshold effects were observed (P ≥ .311), with negligible pressure difference magnitudes at the acute (0.26 pound force [lbf]/cm2; 95% CI: -1.54 to 2.06; g = 0.13) and medium magnitudes at the asymptomatic time points (0.99 lbf/cm2; 95% CI: -0.81 to 2.80; g = 0.42) for the concussed cohort needing more pressure to detect pain. The 30° to 60° PJR had a time effect, with asymptomatic time point having 3.12° better accuracy (95% CI: 1.23° to 5.02; P = .002). The concussed cohort had small-to-medium magnitude differences relative to controls at the acute time point for PJR during 105° to 75° (0.89°; g = 0.30) and 90° to 45° (0.62°; g = 0.17), but not 30° to 60° (-1.75°; g = -0.40).

Individuals with a concussion exhibited large effects for diminished plantar touch sensation and small to medium effects for inhibited plantar pressure pain sensation compared with controls, which may indicate altered somatosensory function. Negligible PJR differences suggest knee joint position sense is not altered post-concussion. Pre- and postconcussion examination is warranted to understand causal somatosensory mechanisms.

Psychological Contributions to Symptom Provocation Testing After Concussion.

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

Following concussion, symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and fatigue may transiently worsen or reemerge with increased exertion or activity. Standardized tests have been developed to assess symptom increases following aerobic, cognitive, or vestibular/oculomotor challenge. Although neurophysiological mechanisms are proposed to underlie symptom increases following exertion, psychological factors such as anxiety and misinterpretation of normal bodily sensations may also play a role. In this study, we examined the contribution of psychological factors to symptom provocation testing outcomes.

In a single session, participants completed self-report questionnaires measuring the psychological factors of interest and underwent symptom provocation testing including aerobic (Buffalo Concussion Bike Test; BCBT), cognitive (National Institutes of Health Toolbox-Cognition Battery; NIHTB-CB), and vestibular/oculomotor (Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening for Concussion; VOMS) challenge. Main Measures: Psychological factors of interest included premorbid and current anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7; GAD-7), catastrophizing (Pain Catastrophizing Scale-Adapted; PCS-A), fear avoidance behavior (Fear Avoidance Behavior after Traumatic Brain Injury; FAB-TBI), and somatization (Patient Health Questionnaire-15; PHQ-15). Our primary outcome variables were self-reported symptom change during each symptom provocation test.

We found that current anxiety (B = 0.034; 95% CI = 0.003, 0.065), symptom catastrophizing (B = 0.013; 95% CI = 0.000, 0.026), fear avoidance behavior (B = 0.029; 95% CI = 0.008, 0.050), and somatization (B = 0.041; 95% CI = 0.007, 0.075) were associated with increased symptoms during the VOMS in univariate models adjusted for time postinjury but not in a multivariable model that included all covariates. The psychological variables of interest were not significantly related to symptom change during the BCBT or NIHTB-CB.

Our findings suggest that symptom provocation test failure should be interpreted with caution because it might indicate psychological maladjustment rather than lingering brain injury or incomplete neurophysiological recovery.

Impacts of Prism Adaptation Treatment on Spatial Neglect and Rehabilitation Outcome: Dosage Matters.

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

We examined whether number of prism adaptation treatment (PAT) sessions in regular clinical practice would predict spatial neglect (SN) improvement...

Where Are We on Proprioception Assessment Tests Among Poststroke Individuals? A Systematic Review of Psychometric Properties.

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy

Proprioception is often impaired in poststroke individuals. This is a significant issue since altered proprioception is associated with poorer physical function outcomes poststroke. However, there is limited consensus on the best tools for assessing proprioception and support for their widespread use by clinicians. The objective is to appraise the psychometric properties of each test used to assess proprioception in poststroke individuals.

A systematic search was performed according to PRISMA guidelines using the databases MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, PEDro, DiTa, and BioMedicalCentral for articles published up to January 2021.

Sixteen studies of low methodological quality were included. Sixteen different proprioception assessment tests were extracted. The proprioception portion of the Fugl-Meyer Assessment Scale was found to be the most valid and reliable tool for screening patients in clinical settings. Although no real gold standard exists, the technological devices demonstrated better responsiveness and measurement accuracy than clinical tests. Technological devices might be more appropriate for assessing proprioception recovery or better suited for research purposes.

This review revealed low-quality articles and a paucity of tests with good psychometric properties available to clinicians to properly screen and assess all subcomponents of proprioception. In perspective, technological devices, such as robotic orthoses or muscle vibration, may provide the best potential for assessing the different subcomponents of proprioception. Further studies should be conducted to develop and investigate such approaches.Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at:

Assessment of Walking Speed and Distance Post-Stroke Increases After Providing a Theory-Based Toolkit.

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy

While underutilized, poststroke administration of the 10-m walk test (10mWT) and 6-minute walk test (6MWT) can improve care and is considered best practice. We aimed to evaluate provision of a toolkit designed to increase use of these tests by physical therapists (PTs).

In a before-and-after study, 54 PTs and professional leaders in 9 hospitals were provided a toolkit and access to a clinical expert over a 5-month period. The toolkit comprised a guide, smartphone app, and video, and described how to set up walkways, implement learning sessions, administer walk tests, and interpret and apply test results clinically. The proportion of hospital visits for which each walk test score was documented at least once (based on abstracted health records of ambulatory patients) were compared over 8-month periods pre- and post-intervention using generalized mixed models.

Data from 347 and 375 pre- and postintervention hospital visits, respectively, were analyzed. Compared with preintervention, the odds of implementing the 10mWT were 12 times greater (odds ratio [OR] = 12.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 5.8, 26.3), and of implementing the 6MWT were approximately 4 times greater (OR = 3.9, 95% CI 2.3, 6.7), post-intervention, after adjusting for hospital setting, ambulation ability, presence of aphasia and cognitive impairment, and provider-level clustering. Unadjusted change in the percentage of visits for which the 10mWT/6MWT was documented at least once was smallest in acute care settings (2.0/3.8%), and largest in inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings (28.0/19.9% and 29.4/23.4%, respectively).

Providing a comprehensive toolkit to hospitals with professional leaders likely contributed to increasing 10mWT and 6MWT administration during inpatient and outpatient stroke rehabilitation.Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see the Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at:

Implementation and Adoption of Telerehabilitation for Treating Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy

Multimodal physical therapy for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) has been shown to improve recovery. Due to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a clinical trial assessing the timing of multimodal intervention was adapted for telerehabilitation. This pilot study explored feasibility and adoption of an in-person rehabilitation program for subacute mTBI delivered through telerehabilitation.

Fifty-six in-person participants-9 males; mean (SD) age 34.3 (12.2); 67 (31) days post-injury-and 17 telerehabilitation participants-8 males; age 38.3 (12.7); 61 (37) days post-injury-with subacute mTBI (between 2 and 12 weeks from injury) were enrolled. Intervention included 8, 60-minute visits over 6 weeks and included subcategories that targeted cervical spine, cardiovascular, static balance, and dynamic balance impairments. Telerehabilitation was modified to be safely performed at home with minimal equipment. Outcome measures included feasibility (the number that withdrew from the study, session attendance, home exercise program adherence, adverse events, telerehabilitation satisfaction, and progression of exercises performed), and changes in mTBI symptoms pre- and post-rehabilitation were estimated with Hedges' g effect sizes.

In-person and telerehabilitation had a similar study withdrawal rate (13% vs 12%), high session attendance (92% vs 97%), and no adverse events. The telerehabilitation group found the program easy to use (4.2/5), were satisfied with care (4.7/5), and thought it helped recovery (4.7/5). The telerehabilitation intervention was adapted by removing manual therapy and cardiovascular portions and decreasing dynamic balance exercises compared with the in-person group. The in-person group had a large effect size (-0.94) in decreases in symptoms following rehabilitation, while the telerehabilitation group had a moderate effect size (-0.73).

Telerehabilitation may be feasible for subacute mTBI. Limited ability to address cervical spine, cardiovascular, and dynamic balance domains along with underdosage of exercise progression may explain group differences in symptom resolution.Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see the Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at:

Headaches in Traumatic Brain Injury: Improvement Over Time, Associations With Quality of Life, and Impact of Migraine-Type Headaches.

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

To describe headache characteristics over time in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Surveys of headache characteristics, including headache severity, were measured on a 0- to 10-point Likert scale and headache frequency quantified as headaches per month. Patients with migraine-type headaches (n = 39) were identified by a clinician-administered tool. Functional outcomes were measured using the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended (GOS-E) and quality of life by the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) and the 36-item Short Form Survey (SF-36).

At their initial visit, patients with TBI had more severe and frequent headaches than IWBIs (median 5 vs 2.5, P < .001; median 2 vs 0.2, P < .001), as did patients with mTBI compared with modTBI/sTBI (all P ≤ .01). Migraines were associated with lower SWLS and SF-36 scores. Migraines and young age were associated with higher headache severity and frequency across time points. Longitudinally, time post-injury correlated with improvement in headache severity and frequency without differences by injury severity. However, time post-injury did not correlate with improvement in headache characteristics in a patient subgroup with moderate/severe headaches.

Our findings suggest that patients with mild, moderate, or severe TBI see improvement in headaches over time. However, patients should be counseled that improvement is modest and seen more in patients with milder headache symptoms. Patients with migraine headaches in particular are at risk for worse headache characteristics with greater impact on quality of life.