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Comparative Study
. 2012;26(1):14-26.
doi: 10.3109/02699052.2011.635354. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Post-concussion Syndrome: Prevalence After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Comparison With a Sample Without Head Injury

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Comparative Study

Post-concussion Syndrome: Prevalence After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Comparison With a Sample Without Head Injury

Philip J A Dean et al. Brain Inj. .

Abstract

Primary objective: To compare the prevalence of persistent post-concussion syndrome (PCS; >1 year post-injury) in participants with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and those without head injury.

Research design: A cross-sectional sample of 119 participants with mTBI and 246 without previous head injury.

Methods: Online questionnaires collected data about post-concussion symptoms, cognitive failures, anxiety, depression, sleep behaviour and post-traumatic stress disorder. Variability within the sample was addressed by splitting by PCS diagnosis to create four groups: mTBI + PCS, mTBI-PCS, Control + PCS and Control-PCS. PCS was diagnosed using ICD-10 criteria in all groups, with controls not requiring previous head injury.

Main outcomes and results: PCS was present to a similar extent in participants with no head injury (34%) compared to those with mTBI (31%). Only report of headaches, which could be caused by expectation bias, distinguished between mTBI + PCS and Control + PCS groups. In addition, significantly higher cognitive problems were observed in participants with mTBI compared with the control group.

Conclusions: Persistent PCS, as currently defined, is not specific to mTBI. These data suggest that somatic and cognitive symptoms are most likely to be able to distinguish PCS after mTBI from that present in the general population. Further research is necessary into these factors in order to create more specific PCS diagnostic criteria.

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