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What are the types and impacts of Post-Traumatic Amnesia (PTA) on memory and daily functioning?

Erin O. Mattingly, MA, CCC-SLP, CBIS

June 3, 2024

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Question

What are the types and impacts of Post-Traumatic Amnesia (PTA) on memory and daily functioning?

Answer

Post-Traumatic Amnesia (PTA) manifests in two distinct types: retrograde and anterograde. Retrograde PTA involves partial or total memory loss of events immediately preceding the brain injury. This type of memory loss typically diminishes over time, gradually improving recollection of events closer to the injury's occurrence.

Anterograde amnesia, on the other hand, is characterized by the inability to form new memories following the injury. This condition results in difficulties with memory retention and attention, making it hard for individuals to learn new strategies, recall names, or understand their surroundings, which hinders orientation. Anterograde memory often returns last during recovery from loss of consciousness.

The duration of PTA can range from minutes to months and correlates directly with long-term outcomes. A longer PTA duration generally indicates a less favorable prognosis, especially when coupled with severe brain injury. Declarative memory, which is essential for forming new memories, is impaired during PTA, while implicit and procedural memory remains intact, allowing routine tasks such as tying shoelaces or brushing teeth to continue unaffected. However, new learning, such as remembering a nurse's name or orientation details, is significantly impacted until PTA resolves. Formal assessments, like the Galveston Orientation Amnesia Test (GOAT), play a crucial role in evaluating PTA by addressing components of orientation systematically.

This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from the course, Acquired Brain Injury: Functional Treatment Across Settings, presented by Erin O. Mattingly, MA, CCC-SLP, CBIS.


erin o mattingly

Erin O. Mattingly, MA, CCC-SLP, CBIS

Erin Mattingly is a strategic consultant, speech-language pathologist (SLP), traumatic brain injury (TBI) subject matter expert, and the Senior Director of Strategic Development at Loyal Source Government Services. Ms. Mattingly has over 18 years of leadership experience ranging from field-based patient direct care to developing and implementing large humanitarian medical operations to supporting White House and senior-level federal agency high-visibility public health policy and program implementation. Ms. Mattingly has treated patients across the continuum of brain injury severity, from mild to severe injury, in both civilian and military populations. She has served in a variety of leadership positions across brain injury, mental health, and SLP organizations and currently provides leadership by serving as the Board Chair for Brain Injury Services, a non-profit organization serving brain injury survivors and their families in the DC and Virginia area. She has multiple publications and presentations at national conferences on the treatment and evaluation of survivors of brain injury in the active duty military, Veteran, and civilian populations. Ms. Mattingly graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Education and Ohio State University with a Masters in Communication Disorders. Ms. Mattingly holds her ASHA certification in speech-language pathology, her license to practice speech-language pathology in Washington, DC, and is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist.


Related Courses

Acquired Brain Injury: Functional Evaluation Across Settings
Presented by Erin O. Mattingly, MA, CCC-SLP, CBIS
Video

Presenter

Erin O. Mattingly, MA, CCC-SLP, CBIS
Course: #10809Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'Speaker was extremely knowledgeable and clear'   Read Reviews
This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Functional and standardized assessment of brain injury across settings are discussed in this course. Symptom identification, informal observational assessment, and challenges associated with using formal assessment in patients who have sustained head trauma are described.

Acquired Brain Injury: Functional Treatment Across Settings
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Video

Presenter

Erin O. Mattingly, MA, CCC-SLP, CBIS
Course: #10810Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'Course was very helpful; straight to the point, and easy to apply clinically'   Read Reviews
This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Overviews of the mechanics of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) are provided in this course. Functional therapy ideas for the acute rehabilitation phase of TBI and strategies for incorporating multidisciplinary goals into patient treatment and family education are also discussed.

Collaborative Goal Setting with Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury and Their Care Partners, Part 1
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Erin O. Mattingly, MA, CCC-SLP, CBISJessica Brown, PhD, CCC-SLP
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This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Transdisciplinary models of care for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are described in this course. The importance of including individuals with TBI and their care partners in therapeutic decision-making is discussed, and research related to holistic practices, mental health supports and return-to-life services for clients/care partners is presented. (Part 2: Course 10572)

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This course describes post-concussive syndrome, including etiology, predictors, and common symptoms. Differential diagnosis and treatment considerations are also addressed.

Collaborative Goal Setting with Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury and Their Care Partners, Part 2
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Erin O. Mattingly, MA, CCC-SLP, CBISJessica Brown, PhD, CCC-SLP
Course: #10572Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'I loved the case studies and listening to the unique and personalized treatment plans/activities - so much better than a worksheet!!'   Read Reviews
This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Evidence from the literature that supports incorporation of patient and care partner needs and priorities into clinical goal setting and functional therapeutic interventions for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) is discussed in this course. Case studies are presented to demonstrate the application of these patient-centered practices.

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