Altered motor system function in post-concussion syndrome as assessed via transcranial magnetic stimulation
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OBJECTIVE: It is unclear why specific individuals incur chronic symptoms following a concussion. This exploratory research aims to identify and characterize any neurophysiological differences that may exist in motor cortex function in post-concussion syndrome (PCS). METHODS: Fifteen adults with PCS and 13 healthy, non-injured adults were tested. All participants completed symptom questionnaires, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to measure intracortical and transcallosal excitability and inhibition in the dominant motor cortex. RESULTS: Cortical silent period (p = 0.02, g = 0.96) and ipsilateral silent period (p = 0.04, g = 0.78) were shorter in the PCS group compared to the control group which may reflect reduced GABA-mediated inhibition in PCS. Furthermore, increased corticomotor excitability was observed in the left hemisphere but not the right hemisphere. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that persistent neurophysiological differences are present in those with PCS. The exact contributing factors to such changes remain to be investigated by future studies. SIGNIFICANCE: This study provides novel evidence of lasting neurophysiological changes in PCS.