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Acta Neurol Belg. 1996 Jun;96(2):89-101.

Traumatic brain injury, cognitive and emotional dysfunction. Impact of clinical neuropsychology research.

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Centre Neurologique du Botanique, Li├Ęge, Belgium.


It is well established that head injury often causes brain damage leading to long term physical, cognitive and behavioural changes in the injured patients. Whereas the physical effects ranging from sensori-motor disturbances to posttraumatic epilepsy are often reported as well as cognitive sequelae, deteriorations of emotional and behavioural aspects are often neglected. Recent advances in imaging technology and clinical neuropsychology research have greatly contributed to increase our understanding of the effect of traumatic brain injury on diverse behavioural functions. After a brief review of the current status of problems facing the brain injured patients, this paper discusses the neuropsychological aspects of 3 long term brain injured patients. All 3 patients showed important behavioural and emotional distress several years after the accident. Whereas case report of patient A and C discuss the emotional and personality disturbance characterised by anxiety, depression and irritability, case report of patient C which is a case of classic frontal syndrome showed important memory impairment with emotional disturbance characterised by apathy, lack of motivation and complete indifference to his surrounding environment. Whatever the mechanisms involved, psychoaffective disturbances in the brain injured patients appear as important problems in the long term. These emotional difficulties must be considered in the treatment and rehabilitation procedures of these victims in order to help them to improve their social adjustment and quality of life aspects. Neuropsychological test data can be used to develop treatment strategies tailored for an individual's specific cognitive strengths and deficits.

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