Should We Develop Military-specific Normative Reference Data for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury?

Research Paper Title

Military-Specific Normative Data for Cognitive and Motor Single- and Dual-Task Assessments for Use in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Assessment.

Background

Military personnel and civilian athletes are both at risk for mild traumatic brain injury. However, these groups are unique in their training and typical daily activities.

A fundamental gap in the evaluation of military personnel following mild traumatic brain injury is the lack of military-specific normative reference data.

This project aimed to determine if a separate normative sample should be used for military personnel on their performance of the Cleveland Clinic Concussion application and a recently developed dual-task module.

Methods

Data were collected from healthy military personnel (n = 305) and civilians (n = 281) 18 to 30 years of age.

Participants completed the following assessments: simple and choice reaction time, Trail Making tests A&B, processing speed test, single-task postural stability, single-task cognitive assessment, and dual-task assessment.

Results

Civilian participants outperformed military service members on all cognitive tasks under single- and dual-task conditions (P ≤ 0.04).

The military group outperformed civilians on all postural stability tasks under single- and dual-task conditions (P ≤ 0.01).

Conclusions

Differences in cognitive performance and postural stability measures may be influenced by demographic differences between military and civilian cohorts.

Thus, military-specific normative datasets must be established to optimiwe clinical interpretation of Cleveland Clinic Concussion assessments.

Reference

McGrath, M., Linder, S.M., Koop, M.M., Zimmerman, N., Ballantyne, A.J., Ahrendt, D.M. & Alberts, J.L. (2020) Military-Specific Normative Data for Cognitive and Motor Single- and Dual-Task Assessments for Use in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Assessment. Military Medicine. 185(Suppl 1), pp.176-183. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usz261.

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