Twenty one unselected patients with an acute whiplash injury of the neck had neurological and neuropsychological assessment, cervical x rays, EEG, BAEP, MRI, and an otoneurological examination within two weeks of the injury. Subjectively, 13 patients reported concentration deficits, 18 reported sleep disturbances, 9 had symptoms of depression, and 7 female patients told of menstrual irregularities. Neuropsychological examination revealed significantly lower performance in tests related to attention and concentration compared to sex, age and educational matched control subjects. Otoneurological examination showed abnormalities in 9 of 17 whiplash subjects. EEG showed questionable changes in 8 of 18 recordings. MRI and BAEP were normal in all patients. Repeat neuropsychological testing in 15 patients at three months showed that attention deficits had improved but were still shown in 12 of 14 and the concentration deficits in 8 of 13 patients. At one year all patients had returned to work, 16 to full and 5 to part time employment. In 4, cognitive dysfunction remained the only significant problem. These findings are discussed as being compatible with possible damage to basal frontal and upper brain stem structures after whiplash injury of the neck.
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