Loss of consciousness is associated with elevated cognitive intra-individual variability following sports-related concussion

Victoria C. Merritt, Liora S. Greenberg, Jessica E. Meyer, Peter A. Arnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether loss of consciousness (LOC), retrograde amnesia (RA), and anterograde amnesia (AA) independently influence a particular aspect of post-concussion cognitive functioning-across-test intra-individual variability (IIV), or cognitive dispersion. Method: Concussed athletes (N = 111) were evaluated, on average, 6.04 days post-injury (SD = 5.90; Mdn = 4 days; Range = 1-26 days) via clinical interview and neuropsychological assessment. Primary outcomes of interest included two measures of IIV-an intra-individual standard deviation (ISD) score and a maximum discrepancy (MD) score-computed from 18 norm-referenced variables. Results: Analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) adjusting for time since injury and sex revealed a significant effect of LOC on the ISD (p =.018, η p 2 =.051) and MD (p =.034, η p 2 =.041) scores, such that athletes with LOC displayed significantly greater IIV than athletes without LOC. In contrast, measures of IIV did not significantly differ between athletes who did and did not experience RA or AA (all p >.05). Conclusions: LOC, but not RA or AA, was associated with greater variability, or inconsistencies, in cognitive performance acutely following concussion. Though future studies are needed to verify the clinical significance of these findings, our results suggest that LOC may contribute to post-concussion cognitive dysfunction and may be a risk factor for less efficient cognitive functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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