Brain connectivity, acute post-concussion symptoms, and cognition in adults with concussion: A quantitative electroencephalography study

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) accounts for 80–90% of all TBI. Post-mTBI symptoms are measured using the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS); however, symptom heterogeneity limits specificity. Better understanding of the neuropathophysiology underlying post-concussion symptoms could enhance diagnostic accuracy. We explored the association between network connectivity, PCSS and neuropsychological functioning within 7 days post-mTBI. We hypothesized that network dysregulation would (a) correlate positively with PCSS scores and (b) correlate negatively with cognitive performance; and that (c) cognitive performance would correlate negatively with PCSS scores. Network activity was measured in 19 participants aged 21 to 65, following a medically diagnosed mTBI. Quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) measured default mode, salience, and frontoparietal networks, while cognition was measured via neuropsychological assessment. Hypothesis (a) was not supported. Of the cognitive domains, support was only found for an association between network dysfunction and immediate memory. There was no association between neuropsychological performance and PCSS scores. PCSS scores were not a sensitive indicator of neuropsychological status and did not reflect the status of underlying brain network regulation. This study provides preliminary evidence for immediate memory as an indicator of altered network connectivity in acute mTBI. Evaluating neurophysiological and cognitive impacts of mTBI may improve understanding of individual recovery needs.

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