Effects of concussive and repetitive subconcussive injury in high school football athletes using resting state FMRI
Long-term neurological damage as a result of head trauma has become a major concern in American football today. Repeated concussions have been linked to many neurological disorders. But, recently, it has also been reported that repetitive sub-concussive head impacts can be a significant source of accrued damage. Since football athletes can experience hundreds of sub-concussive hits during a single season, it is of utmost importance to understand their effect on the brain health in short and long term. I have used resting state (RS) functional MRI to study different characteristics of the different RS brain networks and how those characteristics change during the playing season. These brain network measures were also compared across controls i.e. athletes who never played any collision-sports. Furthermore, changes in the network parameters were compared with hits accrued across the playing season, which helped us understand the nature and intensity of different hits which could lead to significantly different brain networks in football athletes compared to controls. I have used seed-based, region of analysis based and graph theory based modelling techniques to achieve my objectives. I have been able to characterize the long- and short-term effects of exposure to repetitive subconcussive injury on Default Mode Network (DMN) of the brain. I have also characterized the long-term effects of concussions and repetitive subconcussive injury on the whole-brain resting state network. These findings can not only help with diagnosis, but also prevention of serious brain injury.
Talavage, Purdue University.
Neurosciences|Computer Engineering|Electrical engineering
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