Task-dependent Modulation of Cortical Excitability and Balance Control in Individuals with Post-concussion Syndrome
Master of Kinesiology (MKin)
Kinesiology and Physical Education
Faculty of Science
In most cases, symptoms resolve between 7-10 days post-concussion. However, in 10-15% of the concussed population, symptoms can remain unresolved for months to years following the head injury. The purpose of this thesis was two-fold, and was broken up into two studies, where the same individuals participated in both studies. The purpose of the first study was to quantify the differences in balance control between individuals with PCS (i.e., had been experiencing symptoms for <30 days) and non-concussed individuals during a lower-limb reaching task. Participants completed a static balance assessment before and after a lower-limb reaching task, which incorporated a Go/No-Go paradigm. Results from this study revealed no differences in the static stability assessments, however, individuals with PCS demonstrated increased medial-lateral COP displacement as well as greater trunk pitch during the reaching task. Overall, the findings reveal persistent balance impairments in individuals with PCS, which may put this population at an increased risk of further injury. The purpose of the second study was to assess task-dependent modulation of cortical excitability prior to planned index finger abduction contractions comparing a non-concussed population to a population with PCS. The protocol in this study consisted of both single and paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) which was applied prior to the beginning of 3 different tasks (i.e., a rest condition with no plan to contract, a precision contraction, and a powerful contraction). In addition to the three tasks, participants also had to respond to a Go/No-Go cue. The results of this study revealed an increase in excitability prior to a precision contraction in both non-concussed and PCS groups. No differences in task-dependent modulation were found between the two groups with respect to intracortical facilitation and inhibition, however a negative correlation between number of symptoms reported (SCAT3 symptom evaluation) and intracortical facilitation was revealed. The increase in corticospinal excitability prior to a precision contraction was not explained by the two cortical mechanisms we assessed and may therefore be due to spinal modulation or a different cortical mechanism. Overall, based on the results from this thesis, it appears that individuals with PCS have balance impairments, which may be a result of an inability to maximally activate their postural muscles. Furthermore, it appears that those individuals who reported a higher number of symptoms had greater reductions in intracortical facilitation, likely reflecting the heterogeneity of this clinical group.
Kaster, Kristen; Kalmar, Jayne M. Ms.; and Cinelli, Michael E. Mr, "Task-dependent Modulation of Cortical Excitability and Balance Control in Individuals with Post-concussion Syndrome" (2017). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 1983.