The study is published in the November issue of the journal BRAIN. It was led by Dr. Donald Stuss, Director of The Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, with Dr. Michael Alexander, Associate Clinical Professor, Neurology, Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Mass.
"Our study has shown that damaging certain areas of the frontal lobes can impair our ability to perform consistently -- a key requisite for holding a job," says Dr. Stuss. "Many people who suffer brain injuries from an accident, tumor, or stroke for example, may make considerable progress in their rehabilitation, but somehow have difficulty in daily life. The one area that may give them trouble -- performing consistently on tasks, both within a task and at different times -- may be the most difficult and nuanced for doctors to pick up on with a 'single' clinical assessment. The patient may need to be assessed more than once over a period of time. Inconsistency over repeated assessments is an important measure of impairment."
The inspiration for this frontal lobe study came about 15 years ago when Dr. Stuss and his colleagues were testing brain injury patients in studies. They discovered that some patients would perform normally on the first test, but then one week later perform poorly on the same test. Because the data was not replicable over the short interval, it was assumed to be statistical "noise" -- that is, scientifically unimportant. The results had to be rejected due to inability to replicate the findings. Fortunately, a parallel study in mild head injury patients who were tested not twice but
Contact: Kelly Connelly