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Neuropsychol Rev. 2014 Dec;24(4):428-44. doi: 10.1007/s11065-014-9271-8. Epub 2014 Sep 25.

Blast-related mild traumatic brain injury: a Bayesian random-effects meta-analysis on the cognitive outcomes of concussion among military personnel.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 1700, Victoria, BC, V8W 2Y2, Canada, jkarr@uvic.ca.

Abstract

Throughout their careers, many soldiers experience repeated blasts exposures from improvised explosive devices, which often involve head injury. Consequentially, blast-related mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) has become prevalent in modern conflicts, often occuring co-morbidly with psychiatric illness (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]). In turn, a growing body of research has begun to explore the cognitive and psychiatric sequelae of blast-related mTBI. The current meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the chronic effects of blast-related mTBI on cognitive performance. A systematic review identified 9 studies reporting 12 samples meeting eligibility criteria. A Bayesian random-effects meta-analysis was conducted with cognitive construct and PTSD symptoms explored as moderators. The overall posterior mean effect size and Highest Density Interval (HDI) came to d = -0.12 [-0.21, -0.04], with executive function (-0.16 [-0.31, 0.00]), verbal delayed memory (-0.19 [-0.44, 0.06]) and processing speed (-0.11 [-0.26, 0.01]) presenting as the most sensitive cognitive domains to blast-related mTBI. When dividing executive function into diverse sub-constructs (i.e., working memory, inhibition, set-shifting), set-shifting presented the largest effect size (-0.33 [-0.55, -0.05]). PTSD symptoms did not predict cognitive effects sizes, β PTSD  = -0.02 [-0.23, 0.20]. The results indicate a subtle, but chronic cognitive impairment following mTBI, especially in set-shifting, a relevant aspect of executive attention. These findings are consistent with past meta-analyses on multiple mTBI and correspond with past neuroimaging research on the cognitive correlates of white matter damage common in mTBI. However, all studies had cross-sectional designs, which resulted in universally low quality ratings and limited the conclusions inferable from this meta-analysis.

PMID:
25253505
DOI:
10.1007/s11065-014-9271-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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