Assessing the impact of concussion history on the N200, P300 and reward positivity




Fisher, Steffanie Marie

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Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are one of the leading causes of disability worldwide (Zitnay, 2008), yet one of the least understood neurological conditions (Duncan, 2005). Research has examined short-term deficits; however, less focus has been on the consequences of multiple concussions. Previous electroencephalography (EEG) concussion research has examined the N200 and P300 human event-related potential (ERP) components, yielding inconclusive results (Duncan, Kosmidis & Mirsky, 2005). An ERP component not as frequently examined is the reward positivity, generated by the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a region which experiences increased anatomical stress following injury. In this study, 51 students from the University of Victoria took a ‘Concussion Survey’ to determine participant history and groups; no history of concussion, a single injury or multiple injuries (2+). Participants performed an oddball and decision-making task while EEG data was collected. No significant differences were found between groups for the N200, P300 or reward positivity peak latencies or amplitudes. Both concussion groups yielded attenuated peak amplitudes, but no differences existed between the group with a single concussion versus multiple. Unexpectedly, N200 and reward positivity peak latencies were greater in the group with single injuries, compared to those with a history of multiple concussions. This study adds to a continuous line of inconclusive research on the N200 and P300, suggesting minimal cognitive deficits result from concussive injuries. Furthermore, no noticeable differences were observed between groups with a single versus multiple injuries. While the ACC is located in a region of increased stress following TBI, functional deficits impacting the reward positivity may not be as significant as previously hypothesized. Results may be impacted by confounding variables, including not reliably being able to account for time since injury, injury severity and differences in gender dispersion of participants. With concussions on the rise, continued research, particularly longitudinally and within-subjects is critical for the advancement of both TBI prevention and management.



traumatic brain injury, concussion, event related potentials, ERP, electroencephalography, EEG