Brain Inj. 2021 Sep 10:1-13. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2021.1972148. Online ahead of print.
Objective: Characterize the working memory (WM) profile of children and youth who have experienced concussion by systematically synthesizing existing literature on the neuropsychological outcomes of these injuries.Methods: Implemented a peer-reviewed search strategy combining key concepts of concussion/mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), WM, and pediatrics across MedLine, Embase, PsycINFO, and CINAHL. Included studies written in English with extractable results on a WM outcome measure in individuals aged 21 and under who experienced concussion. Applied narrative synthesis to identify trends in the literature. Assessed risk of bias and quality using the NHLBI’s Quality Assessment of Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies.Results: 40 articles met inclusion criteria. 34/40 studies compared WM performance in children or youth with concussion to healthy controls, pre-injury performance, or normative values, of which 15 reported significantly lower WM performance in the concussion sample. Visual/spatial WM was more consistently impacted than verbal WM. Cognitive demanding dual-task conditions were also reliably impacted.Conclusion: Literature indicated that WM is vulnerable to negative outcomes following pediatric concussion, yet the nature of outcomes is variable. Clinicians and researchers should implement comprehensive and theoretically motivated WM assessments to better understand the WM components impacted by injury.
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