Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Reveals Reduced Interhemispheric Cortical Communication after Pediatric Concussion

Concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), is a growing concern, especially among the pediatric population. By age 25, as many as 30% of the population are likely to have had a concussion. Many result in long-term disability, with some evolving to postconcussion syndrome. Treatments are being developed, but are difficult to assess given the lack of measures to quantitatively monitor concussion. There is no accepted quantitative imaging metric for monitoring concussion. We hypothesized that because cognitive function and fiber tracks are often impacted in concussion, interhemispheric brain communication may be impaired. We used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to quantify functional coherence between the left and right motor cortex as a marker of interhemispheric communication. Studies were undertaken during the resting state and with a finger-tapping task to activate the motor cortex. Pediatric patients (ages 12–18) had symptoms for 31–473 days, compared to controls, who have not had reported a previous concussion. We detected differences between patients and controls in coherence between the contralateral motor cortices using measurements of total hemoglobin and oxy-hemoglobin with a p < 0.01 (n = 8, control; n = 12 mTBI). Given the critical need for a quantitative biomarker for recovery after a concussion, we present these data to highlight the potential of fNIRS coupled with interhemispheric coherence analysis as a biomarker of concussion injury.
Final publication is available from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers
coherence, concussion, fNIRS, mild traumatic brain injury, near infrared spectroscopy