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Trends Neurosci Educ. 2018 Dec;13:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tine.2018.08.001. Epub 2018 Sep 4.

Intelligence across the seventh decade in patients with brain injuries acquired in young adulthood.

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Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Think+Speak Lab, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, 355 E Erie St., Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.
School of Systems Biology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.
Department of Psychology, University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany.
Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Cognitive Science Department, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.


In this longitudinal study, we examined intelligence in a group of Vietnam veterans in their 60 s who suffered combat-related penetrating traumatic brain injuries (pTBI) in their 20 s (n = 120), as well as matched veterans with no brain damage (n = 33). Intelligence was evaluated using the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) administered before the injury occurred and then again at three points in time over the following 45 years. We tested for potential predictors and correlates of late midlife intelligence score, as well as the recent change in score over the seventh decade. The pTBI group had lower intelligence scores than the control group when currently evaluated. Pre-injury intelligence and the presence of a pTBI were the most consistent predictors of current intelligence scores. While exacerbated intellectual decline occurs following a young-adulthood pTBI and affects everyday life, no evidence for late midlife accelerated cognitive decline or dementia was found.


Exacerbated cognitive decline; Intelligence; Penetrating traumatic brain injury

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