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Neuropsychological functioning following a spinal cord injury


Studies indicate that 10-60% of the spinal cord injury (SCI) population retains residual cognitive deficits following the injury. However, previous studies have not used a comprehensive neuropsychological battery and/or a well-matched control group. In addition, no study has determined if cognitive deficits continue more than one year after injury. The present study addressed these limitations by comparing the performance of a chronic SCI group (Mean = 17 years post-injury) and a well-matched control group in four cognitive areas. Memory, visuospatial skills, attention/executive functioning, and processing speed were assessed. Results from a discriminant function analysis indicated that information processing speed best differentiated between the SCI and control groups. Twenty-nine percent of the SCI group performed 1 to 2 standard deviations below the control group mean. These results could not be attributed to psychological status or history of alcohol consumption. The findings emphasize the importance of neuropsychological evaluation after SCI.

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