Rehabilitation can improve cognitive deficits observed in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, despite rehabilitation, the ability of making a choice often remains impaired. Risk taking is a daily activity involving numerous cognitive processes subserved by a complex neural network. In this work we investigated risk taking using the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) in patients with acute TBI and healthy controls. We hypothesized that individuals with TBI will take less risk at the BART as compared to healthy individuals. We also predicted that within the TBI group factors such as the number of days since the injury, severity of the injury, and sites of the lesion will play a role in risk taking as assessed with the BART. Main findings revealed that participants with TBI displayed abnormally cautious risk taking at the BART as compared to healthy subjects. Moreover, healthy individuals showed increased risk taking throughout the task which is in line with previous work. However, individuals with TBI did not show this increased risk taking during the task. We also investigated the influence of three patients' characteristics on their performance at the BART: Number of days post injury, Severity of the head injury, and Status of the frontal lobe. Results indicate that performance at the BART was influenced by the number of days post injury and the status of the frontal lobe, but not by the severity of the head injury. Reported findings are encouraging for risk taking seems to naturally improve with time postinjury. They support the need of conducting longitudinal prospective studies to ultimately identify impaired and intact cognitive skills that should be trained postinjury. © 2013 Fecteau et al.
|Publication status||Published - 26 Feb 2013|