The latest medical research on Brain Injury Medicine

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about brain injury medicine gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Structural Changes in the Arcuate Fasciculus and Recovery of Post-stroke Aphasia: A 6-Month Follow-up Study using Diffusion Tensor Imaging.

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

Temporal changes in the structural connectivity of major language tracts after stroke and their contribution to aphasia recovery are unclear.

To investigate longitudinal arcuate fasciculus (AF) integrity changes and their relationship with post-stroke aphasia recovery using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

Thirty-five patients with aphasia due to first-ever left hemispheric stroke underwent the Korean version of the Western Aphasia Battery and DTI at 1- and 6-month post stroke onset. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), radial diffusivity (RD), and axial diffusivity (AD) of both AF tracts were analyzed to evaluate the temporal changes in tract integrity and determine the correlation between changes (Δ; follow-up - initial) in DTI parameters and language scores.

At 6 months post-stroke, the mean FA decreased, and mean MD and RD increased in both hemispheres; however, compared with mean AD observed after 1 month, the mean observed at 6 months increased only in the left hemisphere (P < .05). ΔFA of the left AF and proportional change in the aphasia quotient showed a significant positive correlation (r = 0.365, P = .031). No correlation was found between changes in the right AF parameters and language score. The group with increased FA in the left AF showed more significant language improvement than the group with decreased FA.

During the subacute stage, the integrity of AF decreased in both hemispheres in patients with aphasia, and the change in structural connectivity of the left AF was associated with language improvement.

Increasing the Amount and Intensity of Stepping Training During Inpatient Stroke Rehabilitation Improves Locomotor and Non-Locomotor Outcomes.

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

The efficacy of traditional rehabilitation interventions to improve locomotion post-stroke, including providing multiple exercises targeting impairments and activity limitations, is uncertain. Emerging evidence rather suggests attempts to prioritize stepping practice at higher cardiovascular intensities may facilitate greater locomotor outcomes.

The present study was designed to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of high-intensity training (HIT) to usual care during inpatient rehabilitation post-stroke.

Changes in stepping activity and functional outcomes were compared over 9 months during usual-care (n = 131 patients < 2 months post-stroke), during an 18-month transition phase with attempts to implement HIT (n = 317), and over 12 months following HIT implementation (n = 208). The transition phase began with didactic and hands-on education, and continued with meetings, mentoring, and audit and feedback. Fidelity metrics included percentage of sessions prioritizing gait interventions and documenting intensity. Demographics, training measures, and outcomes were compared across phases using linear or logistic regression analysis, Kruskal-Wallis tests, or χ2 analysis.

Across all phases, admission scores were similar except for balance (usual-care>HIT; P < .02). Efforts to prioritize stepping and achieve targeted intensities during HIT vs transition or usual-care phases led to increased steps/day (P < .01). During HIT, gains in 10-m walk [HIT median = 0.13 m/s (interquartile range: 0-0.35) vs usual-care = 0.07 m/s (0-0.24), P = .01] and 6-min walk [50 (9.3-116) vs 2.1 (0-56) m, P < .01] were observed, with additional improvements in transfers and stair-climbing.

Greater efforts to prioritize walking and reach higher intensities during HIT led to increased steps/day, resulting in greater gains in locomotor and non-locomotor outcomes.

Effects of a Cognitively Challenging Agility Boot Camp Program on Balance and Gait in People With Parkinson's Disease: Does Freezing of Gait Status Matter?

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

Individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) with and without freezing of Gait (FoG) may respond differently to exercise interventions for several reasons, including disease duration. This study aimed to determine whether both people with and without FoG benefit from the Agility Boot Camp with Cognitive Challenges (ABC-C) program.

This secondary analysis of our ABC-C trial included 86 PD subjects: 44 without FoG (PD-FoG) and 42 with FoG (PD + FoG). We collected measures of standing sway balance, anticipatory postural adjustments, postural responses, and a 2-minute walk with and without a cognitive task. Two-way repeated analysis of variance, with disease duration as covariate, was used to investigate the effects of ABC-C program. Effect sizes were calculated using standardized response mean (SRM) for PD-FoG and PD + FoG, separately.

The ABC-C program was effective in improving gait performance in both PD-FoG and PD + FoG, even after controlling for disease duration. Specifically, dual-task gait speed (P < .0001), dual-cost stride length (P = .012), and these single-task measures: arm range of motion (P < .0001), toe-off angle (P = .005), gait cycle duration variability (P = .019), trunk coronal range of motion (P = .042), and stance time (P = .046) improved in both PD-FoG and PD + FoG. There was no interaction effect between time (before and after exercise) and group (PD-FoG/PD + FoG) in all 24 objective measures of balance and gait. Dual-task gait speed improved the most in PD + FoG (SRM = 1.01), whereas single-task arm range of motion improved the most in PD-FoG (SRM = 1.01).

The ABC-C program was similarly effective in improving gait (and not balance) performance in both PD-FoG and PD + FoG.

Balance Training Modulates Cortical Inhibition in Individuals with Parkinson's Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

Most individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) develop balance dysfunction. Previous studies showed that individuals with PD have abnormal corticomotor changes related to severity of motor symptoms and disease progression. Cortical disinhibition was observed in PD and this alteration can be an early sign of PD. Balance training seems to be an effective intervention to improve balance in individuals with PD. However, it is not much known about the effect of balance training on cortical neuroplasticity in PD population.

To investigate the effects of balance training on corticomotor excitability in individuals with PD.

Twenty-eight PD participants were recruited and randomly assigned to either the balance training (BT) or the control (CON) group. Both groups underwent 16 training sessions over 8 weeks. Outcome measures for corticomotor inhibition included the cortical silent period (CSP) and short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) on transcranial magnetic stimulation. Balance performance was measured using the Mini-Balance Evaluation Systems Test (Mini-BEST) and the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test.

Participants in the BT group showed a significant increase in corticomotor inhibition (CSP: P = .028, SICI: P = .04) and a significant improvement in balance performance (Mini-BEST: P = .001, TUG: P = .04) after training. Compared to the CON group, the BT group showed a greater increase in corticomotor inhibition (CSP: P = .017, SICI: P = .046) and better improvement in balance (Mini-BEST: P = .046).

Balance training could modulate corticomotor inhibition in the primary motor cortex and improve balance performance in individuals with PD.

The Impact of Cognitive Impairment on Robot-Based Upper-Limb Motor Assessment in Chronic Stroke.

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

Chronic upper extremity motor deficits are present in up to 65% of stroke survivors, and cognitive impairment is prevalent in 46-61% of stroke survivors even 10 years after their stroke. Robot-assisted therapy programs tend to focus on motor recovery and do not include stroke patients with cognitive impairment.

This study aims to investigate performance on the individual cognitive domains evaluated in the MoCA and their relation to upper-limb motor performance on a robotic system.

Participants were recruited from the stroke population with a wide range of cognitive and motor levels to complete a trajectory tracking task using the Haptic TheraDrive rehabilitation robot system. Motor performance was evaluated against standard clinical cognitive and motor assessments. Our hypothesis is that the cognitive domains involved in the visuomotor tracking task are significant predictors of performance on the robot-based task and that impairment in these domains results in worse motor performance on the task compared to subjects with no cognitive impairment.

Our results support the hypothesis that visuospatial and executive function have a significant impact on motor performance, with differences emerging between different functional groups on the various robot-based metrics. We also show that the kinematic metrics from this task differentiate cognitive-motor functional groups differently.

This study demonstrates that performance on a motor-based robotic assessment task also involves a significant visuospatial and executive function component and highlights the need to account for cognitive impairment in the assessment of motor performance.

The Reaching Phase of Feeding and Self-Care Actions Optimizes Action Observation Effects in Chronic Stroke Subjects.

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

The Action Observation Therapy (AOT) is a well-established post-stroke rehabilitation treatment based on the theoretical framework of the Mirror Neuron System (MNS) activation. However, AOT protocols are still heterogeneous in terms of video contents of observed actions.

The aim of this study was to analyze electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings in stroke patients during the observation of different videos of task-specific upper limb movements, and to define which category of actions can elicit a stronger cortical activation in the observer's brain.

Signals were analyzed from 19 chronic stroke subjects observing customized videos that represented 3 different categories of upper limb actions: Finalized Actions, Non-Finalized Actions, and Control Videos. The Event-Related Desynchronization in the µ and β bands was chosen to identify the involvement of the cerebral cortex: the area of the normalized power spectral density was calculated for each category and, deepening, for the reaching and completion sub-phases of Finalized Actions. For descriptive purposes, the time course of averaged signal power was described. The Kruskal-Wallis test (P < .05) was applied.

The analysis showed a greater desynchronization when subjects observed Finalized Actions with respect to Non-Finalized in all recorded areas; Control videos provoked a synchronization in the same areas and frequency bands. The reaching phase of feeding and self-care actions evoked a greater suppression both in µ and β bands.

The observation of finalized arm movements seems to elicit the strongest activation of the MNS in chronic stroke patients. This finding may help the clinicians to design future AOT-based stroke rehabilitation protocols.

Clinical Trial Registration-URL: Unique identifier: NCT04047134.

Does Sleep Quality Influence Recovery Outcomes After Postconcussive Injury in Children and Adolescents?

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

To determine whether objective parameters of sleep quality differ throughout recovery between children and adolescents who experienced an early return to school (RTS) and those who had a delayed RTS or did not return at all during the study period.

Actigraphy-derived estimates of total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency (SE), wake after sleep onset (WASO), average arousal length (AAL), and number of arousals (NOAs) per hour were assessed. The length of time from injury until RTS was determined for each participant. Participants were categorized into an early RTS or delayed RTS group based on their time to RTS.

Both TST and SE were significantly greater in the early RTS group. WASO duration, AAL, and NOAs were significantly greater in the delayed RTS group. Differences between RTS groups were most apparent during weeks 1 to 5 postinjury.

Participants who returned to school earlier had significantly better objective sleep quality than participants who experienced a delayed RTS. This study provides evidence in support of a relationship between sleep quality and time to RTS in children and adolescents with concussion. Considering early monitoring of sleep, education regarding sleep hygiene, and access to age-appropriate sleep interventions may be helpful in pediatric concussion recovery.

Hypersensitivity to Noise and Light Over 1 Year After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Longitudinal Study on Self-Reported Hypersensitivity and Its Influence on Long-Term Anxiety, Depression, and Quality of Life.

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

This study aimed to investigate (1) the prevalence of self-reported sensory hypersensitivity (noise [NS] and light [LS]) over 1 year after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in adults and (2) the impact of NS and LS measured 2 weeks after injury on long-term outcomes 12 months postinjury, while controlling for postconcussion symptoms.

NS and LS items (Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire) were used as main outcome variables to determine sensory hypersensitivity symptoms. Additional outcomes included anxiety, depression, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and life satisfaction.

There was an elevated prevalence of NS and LS between 2 weeks and 3 months after injury in the mTBI group compared with controls. Approximately 3% of mTBI patients had persistent hypersensitivity symptoms during the whole course of the study. At 12 months postinjury, the mTBI and control groups did not differ in the prevalence of persistent hypersensitivity symptoms. There was no evidence of a predictive value of hypersensitivity within 2 weeks postinjury on anxiety, depression, HRQoL, or life satisfaction, 12 months later after controlling for postconcussion symptoms.

These results not only confirm the presence of hypersensitivity symptoms after mTBI in the subacute stage but also provide assurance about the small size of the group that experiences persistent symptoms. Furthermore, there was no evidence that early NS and LS are uniquely associated with long-term emotional and quality-of-life outcomes, over and above general levels of postconcussion symptoms.

Lessons Learned in Outpatient Physical Therapy for Motor Functional Neurological Disorder.

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy

Motor functional neurological disorder is a prevalent and costly condition at the intersection of neurology and psychiatry that is diagnosed using positive "rule-in" signs. Physical therapy is a first-line treatment and consensus recommendations exist to guide clinical care. Nonetheless, optimal outpatient treatment of adults with functional motor symptoms requires an expanded physical therapy tool kit to effectively guide care.

Use of the biopsychosocial formulation to triage clinical challenges and guide longitudinal care, coupled with application of neuroscience to aid intervention selection, allows for patient-centered physical therapy treatment across the spectrum of functional motor symptoms.Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see the Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at:

Split-Belt Adaptation and Savings in People With Parkinson Disease.

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy

Upper extremity studies suggest that implicit adaptation is less impaired than explicit learning in persons with Parkinson disease (PD). Little work has explored implicit locomotor adaptation and savings in this population, yet implicit locomotor learning is critical for everyday function. This cross-sectional study examined adaptation and savings in individuals with PD during split-belt treadmill walking.

Fourteen participants completed the following treadmill protocol: Baseline (6 minutes belts tied), Adaptation (10 minutes split), Washout (10 minutes tied), and Readaptation (10 minutes split). Step length and step symmetry index (SSI) were calculated to determine magnitude and rate of adaptation and savings. Rate was calculated as strides to reach SSI plateau during Adaptation and Readaptation.

During Early Adaptation and Early Readaptation, SSI was perturbed from Baseline (P < 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively). Less perturbation in Early Readaptation (P < 0.001) demonstrated savings. In Late Adaptation and Late Readaptation, participants returned to Baseline symmetry (P = 0.026 and P = 0.022, respectively, with adjusted level of significance = 0.007). Adaptation was also seen in reverse asymmetry observed in Early Washout (P = 0.003 vs Baseline). Readaptation rate was faster than in Adaptation (P = 0.015), demonstrating savings.

Individuals with PD showed locomotor adaptation in an implicit sensorimotor adaptation task. They also demonstrated savings, with less perturbation and faster adaptation during the second split-belt exposure. However, performance was variable; some individuals showed minimal adaptation. Variations in learning, savings, and clinical presentation highlight the need to further explore characteristics of individuals with PD most likely to benefit from adaptation-based locomotor training.Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see the Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at:

Assessment of Neurological Impairment and Recovery Using Statistical Models of Neurologically Healthy Behavior.

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

While many areas of medicine have benefited from the development of objective assessment tools and biomarkers, there have been comparatively few im...

Relationships Among Environmental Variables, Physical Capacity, Balance Self-Efficacy, and Real-World Walking Activity Post-Stroke.

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair

Social and physical environmental factors affect real-world walking activity in individuals with stroke. However, environmental factors are often non-modifiable, presenting a challenge for clinicians working with individuals with stroke whose real-world walking is limited due to environmental barriers.

The purpose of this work was to test a model hypothesizing the relationships among environmental factors (specifically, living situation and area deprivation), modifiable factors, and real-world walking activity to understand opportunities for intervention. We hypothesized that balance self-efficacy would mediate the relationship between the environment and real-world walking and that physical capacity would moderate this mediation.

This was a cross-sectional study of 282 individuals with chronic (≥6 months) stroke. We tested the indirect effect to determine if mediation was present. Multiple group structural equation modeling was used to test if physical capacity moderated this mediation. A χ2 difference test was used to compare the moderation model against the null (no moderation) model.

Balance self-efficacy mediated the relationship between area deprivation and real-world walking (indirect effect: β = -0.04, P = .04). Both the moderation and null models fit the data equally well statistically (χ2(5) = 6.9, P = .23). We therefore accepted the simpler (null) model and concluded that the mediation was not moderated.

Targeting balance self-efficacy may be an effective approach to improving real-world walking in persons with stroke who experience barriers within the physical environment. A stroke survivor's physical capacity may not impact this approach. Future work should consider utilizing more specific measures of the social and physical environment to better understand their influences on real-world walking activity in individuals with stroke. However, the results of this work provide excellent targets for future longitudinal studies targeting real-world walking activity in stroke.