Neurophysiological signatures of mild traumatic brain injury in the acute and subacute phase

Valentina Barone*, Myrthe E. de Koning, Harm J. van der Horn, Joukje van der Naalt, Carin J. Eertman-Meyer, Michel J.A.M. van Putten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) affects 48 million people annually, with up to 30% experiencing long-term complaints such as fatigue, blurred vision, and poor concentration. Assessing neurophysiological features related to visual attention and outcome measures aids in understanding clinical symptoms and prognostication.

Methods: We recorded EEG and eye movements in mTBI patients during a computerized task performed in the acute (< 24 h, TBI-A) and subacute phase (4–6 weeks thereafter). We estimated the posterior dominant rhythm, reaction times (RTs), fixation duration, and event-related potentials (ERPs). Clinical outcome measures were assessed using the Head Injury Symptom Checklist (HISC) and the Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOSE) at 6 months post-injury. Similar analyses were performed in an age-matched control group (measured once). Linear mixed effect modeling was used to examine group differences and temporal changes within the mTBI group.

Results: Twenty-nine patients were included in the acute phase, 30 in the subacute phase, and 19 controls. RTs and fixation duration were longer in mTBI patients compared to controls (p < 0.05), but not between TBI-A and TBI-S (p < 0.05). The frequency of the posterior dominant rhythm was significantly slower in TBI-A (0.6 Hz, p < 0.05) than TBI-S. ERP mean amplitude was significantly lower in mTBI patients than in controls. Neurophysiological features did not significantly relate to clinical outcome measures.

Conclusion: mTBI patients demonstrate impaired processing speed and stimulus evaluation compared to controls, persisting up to 6 weeks after injury. Neurophysiological features in mTBI can assist in determining the extent and temporal progression of recovery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurological sciences
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17-Feb-2024

Keywords

  • EEG
  • ERP
  • Eye tracking
  • Mild traumatic brain injury
  • Visual attention

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