Results of studies addressing the effect of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on symptoms and neuropsychological assessments are mixed regarding cognitive deficits in these populations. Neuropsychological assessments were compared between U.S. military service members with mTBI only (n=36) vs. those with mTBI÷ PTSD (n=35) from a randomized interventional study of mTBI participants with persistent post-concussive symptoms (PCS). The mTBI group endorsed worse symptoms than published norms on PCS, PTSD and pain scales (⟩50% abnormal on Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory (NSI), PTSD Checklist-Civilian, McGill Pain Questionnaire-Short Form) and some quality of life domains. Worse symptom reporting was found in the mTBI÷ PTSD group compared to mTBI (e.g., mean NSI total score in mTBI 27.5 (SD=12.7), mTBI÷ PTSD 39.9 (SD=13.6), p⟨0.001). The mTBI÷PTSD group performed worse than mTBI on the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale digit span (mean difference -1.5, 95% CI[-2.9,-0.1], p=0.04) and symbol search (mean difference -1.5, 95% CI[-2.7,-0.2], p=0.03) and Grooved Pegboard (dominant hand mean difference -7.0, 95% CI[-11.5,-2.4], p=0.003; non-dominant mean difference -9.8, 95% CI[-14.9,-4.7], p⟨0.001). Differences were detected in ANAM simple reaction time (p=0.04) and mathematical processing (p=0.03) but not verbal fluency or visuospatial memory assessments. Results indicate increased symptom severity and some cognitive deficits in mTBI÷ PTSD compared to mTBI alone. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01611194; https://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01611194.
Wilson, Weaver, Lindblad (2017). Neuropsychological assessments in a hyperbaric trial of post-concussive symptoms. Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, ;43(5):585-599. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28768075