09| Electrical Injuries: Cognitive and Emotional Sequelae – with Dr. Neil Pliskin

Electrical injuries often result in diffuse cognitive symptoms and mood changes.  In this episode, we discuss the ins and outs of this unique injury with Neil Pliskin, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, former president of APA Div. 40, who has done a significant amount of clinical work and research with this population.

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Topics Covered

  • The mechanism of injury to the body and the brain following exposure to an electrical current
  • Sociodemographic characteristics of people who typically sustain electrical injuries
  • Heterogeneity in injury characteristics and clinical implications of this variability
  • The impact of thermal injuries, as well as orthopedic injuries secondary to falls (e.g., off of a ladder) 
  • Similarities and differences between the neuropsychological profile of electrical injuries and traumatic brain injuries 
  • The high prevalence of emotional symptoms after electrical injuries – potential causes and clinical implications 
  • The potential for PTSD after an electrical injury
  • The speculative connection between electricity-induced emotion dysregulation and the therapeutic effects of electroconvulsive therapy
  • Potential explanations for the surprising finding of worsening symptoms from the acute to the post-acute stage following an electrical injury
  • The role of litigation in neuropsychological evaluations of patients with electrical injuries

 About Neil

Dr. Neil Pliskin is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Neurology in the University of Illinois College of Medicine.  He serves as Director of Neuropsychology services at UI Health, and has had 30 years of experience working as a clinical neuropsychologist and directing clinical neuropsychology training programs.  Neil is past president of the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology of the American Psychological Association and has served as APA advisor to the AMA/CPT Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee since 2009.

Selected References

Aase, D. M., Fink, J. W., Lee, R. C., Kelley, K. M., & Pliskin, N. H. (2014). Mood and cognition after electrical injury: A follow-up study. Archives of clinical neuropsychology29(2), 125-130.

Pliskin, N. H., Capelli-Schellpfeffer, M., Law, R. T., Malina, A. C., Kelley, K. M., & Lee, R. C. (1998). Neuropsychological symptom presentation after electrical injury. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery44(4), 709-715.

Pliskin, N. H., Fink, J., Malina, A., Moran, S., Kelley, K. M., Capelli‐Schellpfeffer, M., & Lee, R. (1999). The neuropsychological effects of electrical injury: new insights. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences888(1), 140-149.

Pliskin, N. H., Meyer, G. J., Dolske, M. C., Heilbronner, R. L., Kelley, K. M., & Lee, R. C. (1994). Neuropsychiatric aspects of electrical injury: a review of neuropsychological research. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences720(1), 219-223.

Ramati, A., Pliskin, N. H., Keedy, S., Erwin, R. J., Fink, J. W., Bodnar, E. N., … & Sweeney, J. A. (2009). Alteration in functional brain systems after electrical injury. Journal of neurotrauma26(10), 1815-1822.

Silva, L. M. A., Cooper, M. A., Blumenthal, R., & Pliskin, N. (2016). A follow-up study of a large group of children struck by lightning. South African Medical Journal106(9), 929-932.

Wesner, M. L., & Hickie, J. (2013). Long-term sequelae of electrical injury. Canadian family physician59(9), 935-939.

Wicklund, A. H., Ammar, A., Weitlauf, J. C., Heilbronner, R. L., Fink, J., Lee, R. C., … & Pliskin, N. H. (2008). MMPI-2 patterns in electrical injury: A controlled investigation. The Clinical Neuropsychologist22(1), 98-111.


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