Error-Related Theta Dynamics and Single-Trial Cognitive Control in Sports-Related Concussion
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAthletes in contact sports can sustain concussions that damage brain circuits important for cognitive control of behavior. When healthy participants err, a cascade of neural dynamics is apparent across the scalp, and this neural activity predicts participants’ learning from mistakes and inhibiting future responses. Theta dynamics are especially important in terms of error-related brain activity: increases in theta power, and increased connectivity between brain regions is mediated by synchronous theta rhythms. Previous investigations of error-related brain activity have noted decreases in neural responses in concussed athletes, but these previous studies used techniques that are less-than-optimal for examining theta-dynamics and cognitive control specifically. This study focused on changes in theta oscillatory dynamics important for cognitive control in athletes with concussion/mTBI. In Study 1, between–subjects analyses revealed that injured athletes were characterized by attenuated mPFC-lPFC connectivity and cognitive control compared to healthy athletes. In Study 2a, within-subjects analyses revealed that a season of rugby play resulted in an attenuation of connectivity; Study 2b demonstrated that connectivity and cognitive control measures were sensitive to effects of acute concussion at a single-subject level. Results imply that measures of connectivity and cognitive control may be a useful measure to track recovery from concussion and inform return-to-play or discontinuation decisions. Theoretically-relevant neuroscientific findings in healthy adults may have translational applications in patient populations, especially in regard to monitoring brain health.
Degree ProgramGraduate College