The Separate and Cumulative Effects of TBI and PTSD on Cognitive Function and Emotional Control
Annual rept. 1 Apr 2008-31 Mar 2009
VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER MARTINEZ CA
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The emotional Stroop task with combat-related words was shown to be a robust and sensitive measure of attentional bias to trauma-relevant material in OEFOIF Veterans with PTSD. It shows promise as an objective behavioral test that might be able to distinguish between OEFOIF combat Veterans with a PTSD diagnosis and those without. However, the results should be interpreted with caution until a sufficiently large control group of demographicallymatched Veterans is tested. In addition, the present group of OIFOEF Veterans with mild TBI andor PTSD were impaired at inhibiting inappropriate motor responses, which can have important implications for daily life. Increased levels of impulsivity and a decreased ability to filter out distracting and emotionally intrusive information can negatively impact social and occupational functioning. In the future, computerized training interventions that target emotional and cognitive control skills may assist these OEFOIF Veterans in returning to their previous levels of productivity. The carefully-designed computerized tasks implemented in this project may be more accurate in assessing the cognitive and affective sequelae of TBI and PTSD than self-report questionnaires.
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