Jana Mueller, a doctoral student and Callier research assistant, and Dr. Christine Dollaghan (pictured), a professor at the Callier Center and the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), are authors of an article in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Researchreviewing the accuracy of assessments for identifying executive function (EF) impairment in adults following acquired brain injury. Executive functions, which include crucial skills such as planning, reasoning and judgment, are frequently observed in adults after head injury, but there is little agreement concerning the most accurate measures for diagnosing EF deficits.
Electronic databases were searched for studies of executive function assessments in adults with acquired brain injury (ABI) that reported any of three values: likelihood ratios (LR); standardized group mean comparisons (d); or correlations among EF tests (r2).
The searches found 1,417 citations; after full texts of 129 articles were reviewed, 34 studies were found to report at least one value of interest. Nineteen positive and negative LRs, 114 d-values, and 104 correlations concerning a wide variety of EF measures were synthesized. Though some point estimates were in the clinically informative range, all confidence intervals extended beyond it.
The researchers concluded that strong evidence is lacking concerning diagnostic accuracy and concurrent validity of EF measures for adults with ABI. They recommended more studies aimed at improving the quality of evidence concerning EF tests.