International Journal of Neurorehabilitation

ISSN: 2376-0281

Open Access

Whiplash Injury and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Differential Effects on Cognitive Functioning?


Kurt Beeckmans and Karla Michiels

With regard to whiplash injury (WI) patients, some studies documented mild attention problems and a reduced speed of information processing. Most patients showed problems with sustained and/or divided attention. However, some patients had also problems with focused and alternating attention. Regarding memory, some studies detected mild (auditory-verbal and/or visuospatial) memory difficulties. Visuospatial and executive functions appeared mostly preserved. In mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) patients, mild impairments in speed of information processing, (sustained, divided, focused and/or alternating) attention and (auditory-verbal and/or visuospatial) memory have been found. Furthermore, mild deficits could also be seen on tests measuring executive functions whereas visuospatial functioning seemed to be preserved. Until today, only two studies were devoted to evaluate possible differences in cognitive functioning between WI and MTBI patients. In these studies, both patient groups did not differ significantly with regard to measurements of attention, memory, and visuospatial and executive functions. Therefore, these authors conclude that MTBI patients do not perform more poorly on cognitive tests than WI patients, as might be expected from severity of trauma.


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