Research Reports - Long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injuries to oculomotor tracking performances and reaction times to simple environmental stimuli

Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 15;8(1)

Danna-Dos-Santos A1,2, Mohapatra S3, Santos M4, Degani AM4,5.
Understanding the long-term effects of concussive events remains a challenge for the development of modern medical practices and the prevention of recurrent traumas. In this study, we utilized indices of oculomotor performance and the ability to react to simple environmental stimuli to assess the long-term motor effects of traumatic brain injury in its mildest form (mTBI). We performed analysis of eye movement accuracy, investigated the presence of abnormal eye movements, and quantified time to react to simple environmental stimuli on long-term mTBI survivors. Results indicated the presence of impairments to basic neural functions used to explore and respond to environmental demands long after the occurrence of mTBIs. Specifically, the result revealed the presence of abnormal saccadic eye movements while performing horizontal smooth pursuit, diminished accuracy of primary saccadic horizontal eye movement, and a widespread slower reaction to both visual and auditory stimuli. The methodology used in this study indicated to be potentially useful in aiding future investigations of neural circuitry impaired by mTBI and provide indices of recovery in future clinical trials testing mTBI-related clinical interventions.

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