The Effect of Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) on Different Aspects of Memory:A Selective Review

  title={The Effect of Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) on Different Aspects of Memory:A Selective Review},
  author={Eli Vakil},
  journal={Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology},
  pages={1021 - 977}
  • E. Vakil
  • Published 1 November 2005
  • Psychology, Biology
  • Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Deficient learning and memory are frequently reported as a consequence of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Because of the diffuse nature of the injury, patients with TBI are not the ideal group for studying brain-behavior relations. Nevertheless, characterization of the memory breakdown following TBI could contribute to the assessment and rehabilitation of this patient population. It is well documented that memory is not a unitary system. Accordingly, in this article I review studies that have… 

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Non-negligible cognitive and affective impairments following TBI are highlighted, their gravity often increasing with injury severity, and efforts should aim to develop and standardize batteries for cognitive subdomains—rather than only domains—with high ecological validity.

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Previous findings were replicated in support of an impaired consolidation hypothesis as the primary deficit underlying memory impairment in TBI, reflected in relatively more rapid forgetting through 1 year post injury and relatively less proactive interference up to 6 months post injury.



Performance of individuals with severe long-term traumatic brain injury on time-, event-, and activity-based prospective memory tasks.

This study found that participants with TBI performed significantly worse than did controls on all three prospective-memory tasks, indicating that TBI affects not only retrospective but also prospective memory.

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The individuals with TBI (late- and early-recovery) were found to be impaired on the SVLT and the RAVLT but not on the electronic Maze, which measures the ability to remember spatial positions.

Everyday memory following traumatic brain injury.

Investigating the interrelationships between subjective memory reports, performance on traditional memory tests, and performance on tests of prospective memory provided preliminary evidence that prospective memory tests are sensitive to TBI-related neurological impairment and, in comparison to traditional tests, may be better indicators of functional memory capacity.

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The TBI patients performed memory tasks using altered functional neuroanatomical networks that are probably the result of diffuse axonal injury and may reflect either cortical disinhibition attributable to disconnection or compensation for inefficient mnemonic processes.

Neuropsychological functioning during the year following severe traumatic brain injury.

Improvement was found to occur in all areas of cognitive functioning over the first year following injury, indicating that different aspects of cognition are more susceptible to injury, and that recovery takes place at a differential rate across functions.

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Data support an impaired consolidation hypothesis, rather than encoding or retrieval deficits, as the primary deficit underlying memory impairment in TBI.

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Results suggest that memory impairment after TBI is caused primarily by deficiencies in initial acquisition of verbal information rather than in compromised retrieval, which has significant implications for the rehabilitation and treatment of individuals with TBI.