Acute Effects and Recovery After Sport-Related Concussion: A Neurocognitive and Quantitative Brain Electrical Activity Study
To investigate the clinical utility and sensitivity of a portable, automatic, frontal quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG) acquisition device currently in development in detecting abnormal brain electrical activity after sport-related concussion.
This was a prospective, non-randomized study of 396 high school and college football players, including cohorts of 28 athletes with concussion and 28 matched controls. All subjects underwent preseason baseline testing on measures of postconcussive symptoms, postural stability, and cognitive functioning, as well as QEEG. Clinical testing and QEEG were repeated on day of injury and days 8 and 45 postinjury for the concussion and control groups.
The injured group reported more significant postconcussive symptoms during the first 3 days postinjury, which resolved by days 5 and 8. Injured subjects also performed poorer than controls on neurocognitive testing on the day of injury, but no differences were evident on day 8 or day 45. QEEG studies revealed significant abnormalities in electrical brain activity in the injured group on day of injury and day 8 postinjury, but not on day 45.
Results from the current study on clinical recovery after sport-related concussion are consistent with early reports indicating a typical course of full recovery in symptoms and cognitive dysfunction within the first week of injury. QEEG results, however, suggest that the duration of physiological recovery after concussion may extend longer than observed clinical recovery. Further study is required to replicate and extend these findings in a larger clinical sample, and further demonstrate the utility of QEEG as a marker of recovery after sport-related concussion.
Available from: Alan J Pearce
- "Reports in the acute time frame (0 – 3 months) following a concussion have reported alterations in amplitude in all frequency bands across the EEG spectrum  . "
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ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex pathophysiological process resulting from external forces applied to the skull and affecting the brain. TBI is a significant global contributor to disability and death, particularly in children and young adults. The severity of a TBI may range from " mild " (a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to " severe " (an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury), with mild TBI (mTBI) the most common form, diagnosed in 80-90% of cases. Sports-related concussion contributes significantly to mTBI accounting for nearly 20% of all mTBI cases. In the past decade there has been increasing growing public concern regarding the association of sports concussion; in particular further chance of recurrent injury following a concussion due to transient cognitive impairments, and long-term detrimental mental health issues and deterioration in brain function as a consequence of multiple concussions. Attention is also turning to methods to assess concussion with questions surrounding the reliability in traditional methods of concussion assessment that include symptom observation and cognitive assessment. This chapter will discuss the neuroscience of sports-related concussion, reviewing the evidence from new and rigorous methods of concussion assessment, such as neuroimaging and electrophysiology, with a focus on transcranial magnetic stimulation, following acute concussive events through to long-term manifestations of multiple concussions.
Available from: Syed Imran Ayaz
- "There is growing evidence that quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG) can be used to evaluate minor head trauma, as it can gauge subtle abnormalities in brain electrical activity associated with mild TBI   . Recent data have suggested its usefulness in evaluating players with sports-related concussions and assessments of postconcussive syndrome (PCS)    . With the advent of waveform recognition algorithm and automated EEG analysis, the viability of using QEEG in the acute setting is possible  . "
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ABSTRACT: We compared the performance of a handheld quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG) acquisition device to New Orleans Criteria (NOC), Canadian CT Head Rule (CCHR), and National Emergency X-Radiography Utilization Study II (NEXUS II) Rule in predicting intracranial lesions on head computed tomography (CT) in acute mild traumatic brain injury in the emergency department (ED).
Patients between 18 and 80 years of age who presented to the ED with acute blunt head trauma were enrolled in this prospective observational study at 2 urban academic EDs in Detroit, MI. Data were collected for 10 minutes from frontal leads to determine a QEEG discriminant score that could maximally classify intracranial lesions on head CT.
One hundred fifty-two patients were enrolled from July 2012 to February 2013. A total 17.1% had acute traumatic intracranial lesions on head CT. Quantitative electroencephalogram discriminant score of greater than or equal to 31 was found to be a good cutoff (area under receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.76-0.93) to classify patients with positive head CT. The sensitivity of QEEG discriminant score was 92.3 (95% CI, 73.4-98.6), whereas the specificity was 57.1 (95% CI, 48.0-65.8). The sensitivity and specificity of the decision rules were as follows: NOC 96.1 (95% CI, 78.4-99.7) and 15.8 (95% CI, 10.1-23.6); CCHR 46.1 (95% CI, 27.1-66.2) and 86.5 (95% CI, 78.9-91.7); NEXUS II 96.1 (95% CI, 78.4-99.7) and 31.7 (95% CI, 23.9-40.7).
At a sensitivity of greater than 90%, QEEG discriminant score had better specificity than NOC and NEXUS II. Only CCHR had better specificity than QEEG discriminant score but at the cost of low (<50%) sensitivity.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Available from: Robert Conder
- "When assessed in the Emergency Room, the traditional physical neurologic exam will be negative and non-focal for pathology, as will the Head CT. The traditional Emergency Room concussion evaluation protocol may not elucidate underlying neuropathology, which is being seen in controlled research studies of athletes with sophisticated neuroimaging including magnetic resonance spectroscopy, fMRI, or diffusion tensor imaging (DTI; Bluml and Brooks, 2006; Pardini et al., 2011) or neuroelectrical assessment including EEG and ERP (Broglio et al., 2009; McCrea et al., 2010; Barr et al., 2012). If someone with a presumed Mild TBI does present with greater neuropathology, such as a basilar skull fracture, intracerebral bleed, or cerebral hematoma, then they are generally referred to as a “complicated” Mild TBI and the severity of injury is noted, with implications for a more complicated recovery. "
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ABSTRACT: The study of heart rate variability (HRV) has emerged as an essential component of cardiovascular health, as well as a physiological mechanism by which one can increase the interactive communication between the cardiac and the neurocognitive systems (i.e., the body and the brain). It is well-established that lack of HRV implies cardiopathology, morbidity, reduced quality-of-life, and precipitous mortality. On the positive, optimal HRV has been associated with good cardiovascular health, autonomic nervous system (ANS) control, emotional regulation, and enhanced neurocognitive processing. In addition to health benefits, optimal HRV has been shown to improve neurocognitive performance by enhancing focus, visual acuity and readiness, and by promoting emotional regulation needed for peak performance. In concussed athletes and soldiers, concussions not only alter brain connectivity, but also alter cardiac functioning and impair cardiovascular performance upon exertion. Altered sympathetic and parasympathetic balance in the ANS has been postulated as a critical factor in refractory post concussive syndrome (PCS). This article will review both the pathological aspects of reduced HRV on athletic performance, as well as the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular components of concussion and PCS. Additionally, this article will review interventions with HRV biofeedback (HRV BFB) training as a promising and underutilized treatment for sports and military-related concussion. Finally, this article will review research and promising case studies pertaining to use of HRV BFB for enhancement of cognition and performance, with applicability to concussion rehabilitation.
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