Preliminary evidence of reduced brain network activation in patients with post-traumatic migraine following concussion
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- Kontos, A.P., Reches, A., Elbin, R.J. et al. Brain Imaging and Behavior (2016) 10: 594. doi:10.1007/s11682-015-9412-6
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Post-traumatic migraine (PTM) (i.e., headache, nausea, light and/or noise sensitivity) is an emerging risk factor for prolonged recovery following concussion. Concussions and migraine share similar pathophysiology characterized by specific ionic imbalances in the brain. Given these similarities, patients with PTM following concussion may exhibit distinct electrophysiological patterns, although researchers have yet to examine the electrophysiological brain activation in patients with PTM following concussion. A novel approach that may help differentiate brain activation in patients with and without PTM is brain network activation (BNA) analysis. BNA involves an algorithmic analysis applied to multichannel EEG-ERP data that provides a network map of cortical activity and quantitative data during specific tasks. A prospective, repeated measures design was used to evaluate BNA (during Go/NoGo task), EEG-ERP, cognitive performance, and concussion related symptoms at 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks post-injury intervals among athletes with a medically diagnosed concussion with PTM (n = 15) and without (NO-PTM) (n = 22); and age, sex, and concussion history matched controls without concussion (CONTROL) (n = 20). Participants with PTM had significantly reduced BNA compared to NO-PTM and CONTROLS for Go and NoGo components at 3 weeks and for NoGo component at 4 weeks post-injury. The PTM group also demonstrated a more prominent deviation of network activity compared to the other two groups over a longer period of time. The composite BNA algorithm may be a more sensitive measure of electrophysiological change in the brain that can augment established cognitive assessment tools for detecting impairment in individuals with PTM.