Electrophysiological assessments of cognition and sensory processing in TBI: Applications for diagnosis, prognosis and rehabilitation

Robert L. Folmer, Curtis J. Billings, Anna C. Diedesch-Rouse, Frederick J. Gallun, Henry L. Lew

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Traumatic brain injuries are often associated with damage to sensory and cognitive processing pathways. Because evoked potentials (EPs) and event-related potentials (ERPs) are generated by neuronal activity, they are useful for assessing the integrity of neural processing capabilities in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). This review of somatosensory, auditory and visual ERPs in assessments of TBI patients is provided with the hope that it will be of interest to clinicians and researchers who conduct or interpret electrophysiological evaluations of this population. Because this article reviews ERP studies conducted in three different sensory modalities, involving patients with a wide range of TBI severity ratings and circumstances, it is difficult to provide a coherent summary of findings. However, some general trends emerge that give rise to the following observations and recommendations: 1) bilateral absence of somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) is often associated with poor clinical prognosis and outcome; 2) the presence of normal ERPs does not guarantee favorable outcome; 3) ERPs evoked by a variety of sensory stimuli should be used to evaluate TBI patients, especially those with severe injuries; 4) time since onset of injury should be taken into account when conducting ERP evaluations of TBI patients or interpreting results; 5) because sensory deficits (e.g., vision impairment or hearing loss) affect ERP results, tests of peripheral sensory integrity should be conducted in conjunction with ERP recordings; and 6) patients' state of consciousness, physical and cognitive abilities to respond and follow directions should be considered when conducting or interpreting ERP evaluations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-15
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume82
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

Keywords

  • EP
  • ERP
  • Event-related potentials
  • Evoked potentials
  • TBI
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)

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