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Recovery of cognitive and dynamic motor function following concussion
  1. Tonya M Parker,
  2. Louis R Osternig,
  3. Paul van Donkelaar,
  4. Li-Shan Chou
  1. Motion Analysis Laboratory, Department of Human Physiology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA
  1. Li-Shan Chou, Department of Human Physiology, 1240 University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403, USA; chou{at}uoregon.edu

Abstract

Objective: Neuropsychological testing has been advocated as an important tool of proper post-concussion management. Although these measures provide information that can be used in the decision of when to return an individual to previous levels of physical activity, they provide little data on motor performance following injury. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationship between measures of dynamic motor performance and neuropsychological function following concussion over the course of 28 days.

Methods: Participants completed two experimental protocols: gait stability and neuropsychological testing. The gait stability protocol measured whole-body centre of mass motion as subjects walked under conditions of divided and undivided attention. Neuropsychological testing consisted of a computerised battery of tests designed to assess memory, reaction time, processing speed and concussion symptoms. Correlation coefficients were computed between all neuropsychological and gait variables and comparisons of neuropsychological and gait stability post-concussion recovery curves were assessed.

Results: Dynamic motor tasks, such as walking under varying conditions of attention, are complex and demanding undertakings, which require a longer recovery time following a concussion than cognitive measures. Little statistical relationship was found between the neuropsychological and gait variables, and the recovery curves of neuropsychological and gait domains were observed to be independent.

Conclusions: In order to fully examine the effects of concussion and determine the optimal time for a safe return to activity, a multi-factorial approach, including both cognitive and motor tasks, should be employed.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Abbreviations:
    COM
    centre of mass
    CONC
    concussion group
    COP centre of pressure
    ImPACT
    immediate Postconcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing battery
    NORM
    uninjured control group
    NP
    neuropsychological
    RT
    reaction time
    VMPS
    visual motor processing speed

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