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Neuropsychology. 2007 Nov;21(6):796-802.

Concussion does not impact intraindividual response time variability.

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Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


This investigation examined the effect of concussion on intraindividual variability in 5 processing speed tasks. Forty-four adults, including 22 concussed and 22 healthy age- and gender-matched participants, completed the Headminder Concussion Resolution Index (D. M. Erlanger, D. J. Feldman, K. C. Kutner,& M. McCrea, 2001) twice. The test consists of a series of tasks including 25 trials of simple response time task, 70 trials of cued response time task (CuRT), 60 trials each for 2 visual recognition tasks, and 30 trials of symbol scanning task. Concussed participants completed a preinjury baseline assessment and were retested within 48 hours of injury diagnosis. The nonconcussed participants were retested 45 days after initial assessment. Average response time (RT), standard deviation, and response accuracy were calculated for each individual. Overall, concussed individuals had increased RTs across all tasks and were less accurate in the CuRT. RT variability for all tasks was elevated in concussed individuals, but controlling for mean RT at follow-up eliminated group differences. These findings indicate that response-time-variability increases in concussed individuals are proportional to processing-time increases. As such, RT variability is not a unique identifier of cognitive dysfunction following concussion. These results highlight that transient brain injury has significantly different neurobiological consequences than chronic conditions have.

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