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The Cognitive Log Appears Useful for Serial Measurement of Higher Thinking Abilities during Recovery from Brain Injury

Categories: Cognitive Assessments - Thinking and Emotional Skills

The Question

Is the Cognitive Log a useful measure of changes in thinking skills during recovery from brain injury?

Past Studies 

Past Studies show that the course of cognitive recovery after traumatic brain injury can rapidly change. Cognition includes thinking skills such as memory, concentration, and problem solving. Healthcare providers use cognitive tests to measure and chart an individual’s recovery, monitor progress, and plan treatments. A frequently used test, called the Orientation Log (O-Log), has been used to evaluate an individual’s awareness of his or her surroundings, such as where he or she is and what date it is. The O-Log is limited because it does not evaluate all the thinking problems that an individual with a brain injury may experience. The Cognitive Log (Cog-Log), however, is a test that can measure an individual’s cognitive abilities in several areas that are commonly affected by brain injury, such as memory and concentration. The results of the Cog-Log can be easily charted on a graph to provide a visual display of an individual’s recovery course. The Cog-Log is a brief, 10-item assessment that can be given at an individual’s bedside.

This Study

This Study examined 150 individuals with acquired brain injury at an inpatient rehabilitation setting and 83 individuals without acquired brain injury. Eighty percent of the group with acquired brain injuries had traumatic brain injuries. The remaining participants with brain injuries had other neurological diagnoses, such as stroke. Brain injury participants were tested 3 to 5 mornings a week, using the Cog-Log. A subset of 52 individuals with traumatic brain injury was given an additional set of cognitive tests that assessed their thinking skills in more detail. The 83 individuals without brain injury were tested with both the Cog-Log and the O-Log on a single occasion.

The researchers were able to administer the Cog-Log quickly, most often in just 5-10 minutes. The Cog-Log repeatedly provided accurate and reliable information about individual cognitive function and recovery. When compared with other more detailed cognitive tests, the Cog-Log was able to estimate overall performance levels on tasks relying on similar thinking skills. The Cog-Log provided information about more cognitive abilities than the O-Log. .

Who May Be Affected By These Findings

Healthcare providers, researchers, individuals with brain injuries


The Cog-Log is not intended to replace other tests, including a neuropsychological examination. This study was not designed to determine which Cog-Log scores suggest the need for a more in depth neuropsychological assessment.

Bottom Line

The Cognitive Log appears to be a useful tool to quickly measure an individual’s cognitive abilities on a repeated basis. In this study, the Cog-Log provided accurate information that the researchers could use to monitor and document an individual’s course of cognitive recovery. The researchers suggest that the Cog-Log may be a helpful tool for future studies exploring cognitive improvements following traumatic brain injury.


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Find This Study

Alderson, A.L. & Novack, T.A. (2003). Reliable serial measurement of cognitive processes in rehabilitation: The Cognitive Log.Archives of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, 84, 668-672.

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