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Traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder : a quantitative investigation of vision and attention

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kristen Barlow Ogden (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://www.wcu.edu/404.asp
Advisor
William Poynter

Abstract: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are prevalent dual impairments in Veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is little existing research that investigates the problems and complaints that these disorders share. The purpose of this study was to determine what types and levels of visual and attentional deficits that may be evident among polytrauma populations and to establish quantitative profiles of visual attention performance in those with isolated PTSD diagnosis, versus those with comorbidity of PTSD and TBI. We used a lateralized version of the Attention Network Task to measure the speed and accuracy with which subjects can shift attention to locations in the visual field, therefore, measuring hemispheric asymmetries in attentional performance. Overall, we found that TBI patients were slower and less accurate in their attentional performance when compared to PTSD and Control groups. We found that these deficits were worse when TBI patients were presented with spatial cue and no-cue conditions when the stimuli were presented to the left visual field (LVF) and processed by the right hemisphere (RH). We also found substantially higher intra-subject variability of TBI patient responses when compared to PTSD and Control Groups. Our results also indicate that TBI patients who self-report relatively high levels of attention problems in everyday activities performed significantly worse on behavioral measures of attention when orienting to the LVF, indicating a RH deficit.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
attention, posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, veterans, vision
Subjects
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Brain -- Concussion
Attention