Study results published in a recent edition of the journalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation revealed that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) could have lasting debilitating effects on locomotor functioning, even in patients who have otherwise achieved a full recovery, according to a EurekAlert news release.
Bradford McFadyen at UniversitÃ© Laval in Quebec City, Quebec, headed the study, which was designed to compare mobility in simulations of everyday problem-solving situations. A laboratory was constructed and equipped with various obstacles and distractions to test responsiveness and locomotor ability under various conditions.
The study results revealed that the non-TBI control group performed similarly to the recovered TBI survivors in a mobility test involving no distractions or obstacles. The TBI group’s speed dropped and response time increased as more distractions and obstacles were added to the walking course. ‘Moreover, the clearance of the subject’s foot over the obstacle was shorter for the “TBI” group,’ the press release added.
The press release quoted Professor McFadyen who said, ‘Our results suggest that even if victims of moderate or severe TBI appear to have generally recovered their locomotor abilities, deficits can persist.” He added, “This could have consequences if the affected people work in a complex physical environment’”a factory, for example’”or engage in activities that are demanding in terms of locomotor skills, such as a sport.’
McFadyen and his team of researchers have begun to develop a clinical mobility test to give health care professionals a more accurate gauge of what each individual TBI survivor is capable of. This will likely lead to safer and more effective assessments of the locomotor limitations some patients may suffer from in the long-term.
McFadyen and his colleague’s research might open doors to increasingly personally tailored treatment and recovery strategies, as well as keeping children, athlete, and other TBI survivors from returning to school, sports, and work too soon after achieving what might prove a less-than-complete full recovery.
Huppe, Jean-Francois. (January 19, 2010) ‘Traumatic brain injuries: Motor deficits can persist even after what appears to be a full recovery.’ Retrieved on January 25, 2010 from the EurekAlert Web site: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-01/ul-tbi011910.php