Neurophysiological markers of cognitive deficits and recovery in concussed adolescents
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OBJECTIVE: The present study sought to determine: 1) whether concussed adolescents exhibited deficits in neurocognitive functioning as reflected by neurophysiological alterations; 2) if neurophysiological alterations could be linked to supplementary data such as the number of previous concussions and days since injury; and 3) if deficits in psychological health and behavioural tests increased during diagnosis duration. METHODS: Twenty-six concussed adolescents were compared to twenty-eight healthy controls with no prior concussions. Self-report inventories evaluated depressive and concussive symptomatology, while behavioral tests evaluated cognitive ability qualitatively. To assess neurophysiological markers of cognitive function, two separate auditory oddball tasks were employed: 1) an active oddball task measuring executive control and attention as reflected by the N2b and P300, respectively; and 2) a passive oddball task assessing the early, automatic pre-conscious awareness processes as reflected by the MMN. RESULTS: Concussed adolescents displayed delayed N2b and attenuated P300 responses relative to controls; showed elevated levels of depressive and concussive symptomatology; scored average-to- low-average in behavioral tests; and exhibited N2b response latencies that correlated with number of days since injury. CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate that concussed adolescents exhibit clear deficiencies in neurocognitive function, and that N2b response latency may be a marker of concussion recovery.
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