Long-term effects of concussion on relevancy-based modulation of somatosensory-evoked potentials
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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this investigation was to better understand the effects of concussions on the ability to selectively up or down-regulate incoming somatosensory information based on relevance. METHODS: Median nerve somatosensory-evoked potentials (SEPs) were elicited from electrical stimulation and recorded from scalp electrodes while participants completed tasks that altered the relevance of specific somatosensory information being conveyed along the stimulated nerve. RESULTS: Within the control group, SEP amplitudes for task-relevant somatosensory information were significantly greater than for non-relevant somatosensory information at the earliest cortical processing potentials (N20-P27). Alternatively, the concussion history group showed similar SEP amplitudes for all conditions at early processing potentials, however a pattern similar to controls emerged later in the processing stream (P100) where both movement-related gating and facilitation of task-relevant information were present. CONCLUSIONS: Previously concussed participants demonstrated impairments in the ability to up-regulate relevant somatosensory information at early processing stages. These effects appear to be chronic, as this pattern was observed on average several years after participants' most recent concussion. SIGNIFICANCE: Given the role of the prefrontal cortex in relevancy-based facilitation during movement-related gating, these findings lend support to the notion that this brain area may be particularly vulnerable to concussive forces.
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