Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



With more than 475,000 cases annually, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children. Promising new tools for the prediction of functional outcomes following pediatric TBI are biomarkers of brain injury that can be detected in blood serum. The most commonly studied biomarkers, S100β, neuron-specific enolase (NSE), and myelin basic protein (MBP), have myriad limitations which preclude their use in clinical care. In the present study, serum concentrations of two novel biomarkers of brain injury (i.e., ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase-L1, UCH-L1; glial fibrillary acidic protein, GFAP) were collected 24 hours following severe TBI in 30 children aged 1 month to 17 years. These 24-hour biomarkers were examined in relation to functional outcomes 3 months following TBI. Functional outcomes reflected global, intellectual (IQ), and neuropsychological (processing speed, working memory, episodic memory, executive function) function. Results indicated that 24-hour GFAP was significantly and negatively related to global outcome, whereas 24-hour UCH-L1 was significantly and negatively related to intellectual function and processing speed. Although not statistically significant, relationships with medium effects sizes were identified between UCH-L1 and executive function, as well as between GFAP and working memory. These results indicate that 24-hour serum UCH-L1 and GFAP are of value in predicting functional outcomes 3 months following severe pediatric TBI.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Desiree A White

Committee Members

Michael J Strube, Deanna M Barch, Denise Head, Dorothy K Grange,


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