I recently took the deposition of a neuropsychologist who maintained that all patients having sustained a mild traumatic brain injury recover within six months. When presented with recent studies demonstrating the inaccuracy of that opinion, he acknowledged that he was unfamiliar with those studies. Rather, he relied on a 2004 paper by Carroll, et al. and two chapters authored by defense forensic neuropsychologists.
A recent article published by Oxford University Press in the Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology once again document that the post-concussion symptoms may be persistent longer than one year.
In this interesting study from Taiwan, the researchers noted, “although post-concussion symptoms (PCS) significantly recover by three-month post-injury, a number of patients still experienced persistent PCS for more than a year.“
The researchers employed 110 patients with mild traumatic brain injury and 32 healthy participants. Post-concussion symptoms were evaluated at two weeks and long-term evaluation (mean = 2.90 years) after the mild traumatic brain injury was sustained. At the two-week mark, the researchers studied cognitive functions which included memory, executive function and information processing, and emotional disturbances including depression, anxiety, and irritability.
Patients reported more PCS at two-week post-injury than healthy participants did, but PCS patients did significantly improve at long-term evaluations when comparing with PCS at acute stage after mild traumatic brain injury. This study, like others, found there was a subgroup of patients with long-term post-concussion symptoms.