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. 2018 Aug;56(8):796-805.
doi: 10.1038/s41393-018-0076-0. Epub 2018 Feb 22.

Cognitive Performance of People With Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: A Cross-Sectional Study Comparing People With Subacute and Chronic Injuries

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Cognitive Performance of People With Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: A Cross-Sectional Study Comparing People With Subacute and Chronic Injuries

B Molina et al. Spinal Cord. .

Abstract

Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Objectives: To assess the impact of spinal cord injury (SCI) on cognitive function in individuals with subacute and chronic SCI.

Setting: National Hospital for SCI patients (Spain).

Methods: The present investigation was designed to determine the nature, pattern, and extent of cognitive deficits in a group of participants with subacute (n = 32) and chronic (n = 34) SCI, using a comprehensive battery of reliable and validated neuropsychological assessments to study a broad range of cognitive functions. Twenty-seven able-bodied subjects matched to the groups with SCI for age and educational level formed the control group.

Results: The neuropsychological assessment showed alterations in the domain of attention, processing speed, memory and learning, executive functions, and in recognition in participants with SCI. The prevalence of cognitive dysfunction in the chronic stage was also confirmed at the individual level. The comparison of the neuropsychological assessment between the groups with subacute and chronic SCI showed a worsening of cognitive functions in those with chronic SCI compared to the group with subacute SCI.

Conclusions: In participants with SCI, cognitive dysfunctions are present in the subacute stage and worsen over time. From a clinical point of view, we confirmed the presence of cognitive dysfunction that may interfere with the first stage of rehabilitation which is the most intense and important. Moreover, cognitive dysfunction may be important beyond the end of the first stage of rehabilitation as it can affect an individual's quality of life and possible integration to society.

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