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Europa Medicophysica 1998 June;34(2):55-64

Copyright © 1998 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

Educational follow-up of head-injured university students

Aroldi L., Cavatorta S., CAtelani R., Mazzucchi A.

Neurology Institute, University of Parma, Italy


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BACKGROUND: The effect of head injury on university students’ academic achievement is investigated with the aim of identifying predictive variables of a neurological, neuropsychological or psychological type.
METHODS: Pre- and post-trauma academic achievement was assessed in 20 students who were hospitalized for at least 24 hours following head injury. Subjects who either experienced a decline in achievement or failed to return to education were compared with those who had either no change or an improvement following injury.
RESULTS: The results of our comparison, conducted separately for severe and mild trauma, revealed the poor predictive power of the clinical parameters investigated during the acute phase (GCS score, coma duration, PTA duration, severity of cerebral lesions detected by CT scan). In severe head injuries, sequential planning skills, the pragmatic command of language and the patients’ tendency to minimize the entity of their deficits proved to be valid predictors of outcome, while in mild trauma, the loss of initiative and pre-trauma achievement appeared to be the only variables able to differentiate between the two post-injury groups.
CONCLUSIONS: It appears possible to make a fairly reliable prediction of who is likely to return to education after severe head injuries, at the time of the first neuropsychological investigation. Mild head injury does not appear to have a direct bearing upon the return to education. However, it can indirectly lessen the determination of patients who lacked sufficient motivation to complete their studies prior to injury.

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