Neurocognitive and Fine Motor Deficits in Asymptomatic Adolescents during the Subacute Period after Concussion

J Neurotrauma -


Servatius, R. J., Spiegler, K. M., Handy, J. D., Pang, K. C. H., Tsao, J. W. and Mazzola, C. A..



Adolescents are at high risk for sustaining concussions. There is considerable controversy regarding the sensitivity of neurocognitive tests to detect and track dysfunction in the aftermath of concussion. Two neurocognitive test batteries were compared during the subacute phase of recovery from concussion to determine sensitivity to concussion. Adolescents (ages 11-17 years) with a concussion diagnosis (eight males, seven females, 9-69 days after injury) were recruited through a concussion clinic and compared with community nonconcussed volunteers (11 males, three females). Adolescents completed the online version of the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT) on a desktop computer and the Defense Automated Neurobehavioral Assessment (DANA) on a handheld device, as well as the Grooved Pegboard Test, which assessed manual dexterity and motor speed. There were no differences in self-reported symptoms on the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale comparing concussed and nonconcussed adolescents. No significant between-groups differences were observed in ImPACT performance. Performance deficits were apparent for the DANA assessment, reflecting lower throughput scores for simple reaction time and response inhibition parameters in those with concussion. Concussed adolescents also had slower Grooved Pegboard Test performance when using the nondominant hand. Both the DANA test battery and the Grooved Pegboard Test appear to have promise as tools to detect persistent cognitive and motor dysfunction in the subacute period after concussion.

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