Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Regular Articles

The UCLA Longitudinal Study of Neurocognitive Outcomes Following Mild Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

Talin Babikiana1 c1, Paul Satza1, Ken Zauchaa1, Roger Lighta1a2, Richard S. Lewisa3 and Robert F. Asarnowa1a4

a1 Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

a2 Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center, Inglewood, California

a3 Departments of Neuroscience and Psychology, Pomona College, Claremont, California

a4 Department of Psychology, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California


Comprehensive reviews of neurocognitive outcomes following mild, uncomplicated traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children have shown minimal effects on neurocognition, especially in methodologically rigorous studies. In this study, we report longitudinal (1, 6, and 12 months post injury) results in four domains of neurocognitive functioning in a large sample of children with mild TBI (n = 124, ages 8–17 at injury) relative to two demographically matched control groups (other injury: n = 94 and non-injury: n = 106). After accounting for age and parental education, significant main effects of group were observed on 7 of the 10 neurocognitive tests. However, these differences were not unique to the TBI sample but were found between both the TBI and other injury groups relative to the non-injured group, suggesting a general injury effect. Effects were primarily within the domains measuring memory, psychomotor processing speed, and language. This is the largest longitudinal study to date of neurocognitive outcomes at discrete time points in pediatric mild TBI. When controlling for pre-injury factors, there is no evidence of long-term neurocognitive impairment in this group relative to another injury control group. The importance of longitudinal analyses and use of appropriate control groups are discussed in the context of evaluating the effects of mild TBI on cognition. (JINS, 2011, 17, 886–895)

(Received November 29 2010)

(Revised June 08 2011)

(Accepted June 09 2011)

(Online publication August 04 2011)


c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Talin Babikian, PhD, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, 760 Westwood Plaza, Room C8-746, Los Angeles, CA 90024. E-mail:


Now deceased; Dr. Satz played a key role in the development of this project.