Neuropsychological Testing & Whiplash

Many whiplash patients complain of behavioral or neuropsychological difficulties after their collision. In this study, 30 patients with acute minor whiplash injury were evaluated using neuropsychological battery tests 5 days, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks after the accident. The tests assessed attention, concentration, verbal and visual memory, and cognitive functions. The researchers compared their results to a healthy control group of 30.

In the acute phase, all neuropsychological functions were below normal. Memory functions recovered at the six week assessment. At 24 weeks, improvements in cognitive functions, concentration, and attention levels were noted. The authors write:

"We conclude that objective impairments matching the patient's subjective complaints can be quantified and monitored by neuropsychological testing. A deficit specific course of recovery is evident. In general, in minor whiplash injury neuropsychological deficits show a complete remission within six months. The diagnosis of a pseudo-neurasthenic or neurotic syndrome in a cute whiplash injury should be made with caution."

Keidel M, Friehoff J, Wilhelm H, & Diener HC. A prospective group controlled follow-up of neuropsychological deficits due to acute whiplash injury. World Congress on Whiplash-Associated Disorders 1999; 129.