Researchers from Melbourne, Australia looked at cognitive reserve and age as factors to predict the cognitive recovery after a mild to severe traumatic brain injury. Recognizing that the persistence of injury-related cognitive impairments can have devastating consequences after traumatic brain injury, the researchers undertook a longitudinal study to examine the long-term cognitive recovery in 109 adults (71% male) experiencing complicated mild-to-severe traumatic brain injury in association with age, pre-mobid intelligence and injury severity (measured by post traumatic amnesia duration).

The subjects were tested at a mean of 43.73 days post traumatic brain injury and again at a mean of 3.70 years post injury. The adults were compared to a healthy control group of 63 adults (59% male) who completed the measures only once. The researchers found “at initial assessment, the TBI participants performed significantly worse on all measures compared with the healthy control group. Within the TBI group, shorter PTA deration, younger age and higher pre-morbid IQ were associated with better initial cognitive performance. Cognitive task performance improved significantly in the traumatic brain injury group at follow-ups between 2 to 5 years later but remained significantly below control group means. Notably, higher pre-morbid IQ and younger age were associated with greater cognitive recovery at follow-up, whereas PTA duration was not.”

The citation for the study is: