Research Reports - Cognitive-motor integration deficits in young adult athletes following concussion

BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2015 Oct 19;7:25. doi: 10.1186/s13102-015-0019-4.
eCollection 2015.

Brown JA(1), Dalecki M(2), Hughes C(3), Macpherson AK(3), Sergio LE(4).

BACKGROUND: The ability to perform visually-guided motor tasks requires the
transformation of visual information into programmed motor outputs. When the
guiding visual information does not align spatially with the motor output, the
brain processes rules to integrate the information for an appropriate motor
response. Here, we look at how performance on such tasks is affected in young
adult athletes with concussion history.
METHODS: Participants displaced a cursor from a central to peripheral targets on
a vertical display by sliding their finger along a touch sensitive screen in one
of two spatial planes. The addition of a memory component, along with variations
in cursor feedback increased task complexity across conditions.
RESULTS: Significant main effects between participants with concussion history
and healthy controls without concussion history were observed in timing and
accuracy measures. Importantly, the deficits were distinctly more pronounced for
participants with concussion history compared to healthy controls, especially
when the brain had to control movements having two levels of decoupling between
vision and action. A discriminant analysis correctly classified athletes with a
history of concussion based on task performance with an accuracy of 94 %, despite
the majority of these athletes being rated asymptomatic by current standards.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings correspond to our previous work with adults at risk
of developing dementia, and support the use of cognitive motor integration as an
enhanced assessment tool for those who may have mild brain dysfunction. Such a
task may provide a more sensitive metric of performance relevant to daily
function than what is currently in use, to assist in return to play/work/learn

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