Exercise therapy for mild TBI and PPCS across lifespan

MRFF Research grant – 2020 MRFF Traumatic Brain Injury Mission

Grant Duration: 2 years

Administering Institution: Monash University

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) results in a range of debilitating symptoms including cognitive, sensory, and emotional deficits, sleep disturbances, and headaches. Despite increased awareness of the socio-economic costs and risks of poor outcomes, the clinical management of mTBI remains notoriously difficult because there are still no evidence-based interventions for individuals across the lifespan.

Current treatment options for mTBI are sparse and not evidence-based, with the standard treatment for mTBI still being rest until asymptomatic. Initial studies led by members of our team have identified subthreshold aerobic exercise as a promising intervention for mTBI in adolescents. Findings from these studies show that this intervention may result in faster recovery and reduced incidence of persisting post-concussion symptoms; thereby allowing individuals to return to pre-injury activities sooner. This intervention protocol is also straightforward and applicable in a vast range of clinical setting. However, studies are now required to extend and validate this subthreshold exercise intervention protocol as an effective mTBI intervention in adults.

To address this knowledge gap, our complementary and interdisciplinary research team now propose a clinical trial to examine subthreshold aerobic exercise intervention in mTBI patients. We hypothesise that exercise intervention will improve recovery in mTBI patients. Based on these findings we will develop and distribute protocols/guidelines for both adolescent and adult mTBI patients that can be accessed and applied in clinical settings across Australia.