Research Reports - Changes in brain-behavior relationships following a 3-month pilot cognitive intervention program for adults with traumatic brain injury

Heliyon. 2017 Aug 4;3(8):e00373. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2017.e00373. eCollection
2017 Aug.

Porter S(1), Torres IJ(2), Panenka W(2)(3), Rajwani Z(4), Fawcett D(2), Hyder
A(5), Virji-Babul N(4)(6).

Facilitating functional recovery following brain injury is a key goal of
neurorehabilitation. Direct, objective measures of changes in the brain are
critical to understanding how and when meaningful changes occur, however,
assessing neuroplasticity using brain based results remains a significant
challenge. Little is known about the underlying changes in functional brain
networks that correlate with cognitive outcomes in traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The purpose of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility of an intensive
three month cognitive intervention program in individuals with chronic TBI and to
evaluate the effects of this intervention on brain-behavioral relationships. We
used tools from graph theory to evaluate changes in global and local brain
network features prior to and following cognitive intervention. Network metrics
were calculated from resting state electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings from
10 adult participants with mild to severe brain injury and 11 age and gender
matched healthy controls. Local graph metrics showed hyper-connectivity in the
right inferior frontal gyrus and hypo-connectivity in the left inferior frontal
gyrus in the TBI group at baseline in comparison with the control group.
Following the intervention, there was a statistically significant increase in the
composite cognitive score in the TBI participants and a statistically significant
decrease in functional connectivity in the right inferior frontal gyrus. In
addition, there was evidence of changes in the brain-behavior relationships
following intervention. The results from this pilot study provide preliminary
evidence for functional network reorganization that parallels cognitive
improvements after cognitive rehabilitation in individuals with chronic TBI. 

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