A Pilot Study Investigating Neuropsychological Consultation as an Intervention for Persistent Postconcussive Symptoms in a Pediatric Sample

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Abstract

Objective

To examine the efficacy of a one-time neuropsychological consultation as an intervention for youth with persistent postconcussive symptoms following mild traumatic brain injury.

Study design

Using a prospective interrupted time series design, we enrolled 80 patients aged 8-17 years referred consecutively for clinical neuropsychological consultation. Patients needed to have sustained injury between 2 and 12 months prior to enrollment. Parent and child postconcussive symptom ratings were used as the primary outcome measures and were collected at 6 time points, 3 before the neuropsychological consultation and 3 after. Repeated measure ANOVA was used to estimate the magnitude of change in symptom ratings before and after the neuropsychological intervention.

Results

The decrease in symptoms for the week prior to consultation was nonsignificant by both child (P = .63) and parent (P = .19) report. In contrast, for both reporters, the decrease in symptoms at 1 week and 3 months postconsultation was significant (P < .0001). The difference in reported change was also significant when comparing the week before the intervention to the 3 months after (child: P < .0001; parent: P = .0009).

Conclusions

Postconcussive symptoms decreased significantly following the neuropsychological consultation. The primary limitation of the study is that it lacked randomization and a control group. The results warrant further research into the benefits of neuropsychological consultation after mild traumatic brain injury and provide justification for clinical providers to consider referring to neuropsychologists in the face of persistent postconcussive symptoms.

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