Objective: To evaluate the usefulness of quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG), flash visual evoked potential (F-VEP) and auditory brainstem responses (ABR) as indicators of general neurological status.
Methods: Comparison was conducted on healthy controls (n = 30) and patients with brain concussion (n = 60) within 24 h after traumatic brain injury. Follow-up study of patient group was completed with the same standard paradigm 3 months later. All participants were recorded in multi-modality related potential testing in both early and late concussion at the same clinical setting. Glasgow coma scale, CT scanning, and physical examinations of neuro-psychological function, optic and auditory nervous system were performed before electroencephalogram (EEG) and evoked potential (EEG-EP) testing. Any participants showed abnormal changes of clinical examinations were excluded from the study. Average power of frequency spectrum and power ratios were selected for QEEG testing, and latency and amplitude of F-VEP and ABR were recorded.
Results: Between patients and normal controls, the results indicated: (1) Highly significance (P < 0.01) in average power of α1 and power ratios of θ/α1, θ/α2, α1/α2 of EEG recording; (2) N70-P100 amplitude of F-VEP in significant difference at early brain concussion; and (3) apparent prolongation of I-III inter-peak latency of ABR appeared in some individuals at early stage after concussion. The follow-up study showed that some patients with concussion were also afflicted with characteristic changes of EEG components for both increments of α1 average power and θ/α2 power ratio after 3 months recording.
Conclusion: EEG testing has been shown to be more effective and sensitive than evoked potential tests alone on detecting functional state of patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Increments of α1 average power and θ/α2 power ratio are the sensitive EEG parameters to determining early concussion and evaluating outcome of post-concussion symptoms (PCS). Follow-up study associated with persistent PCS may be consistent with the postulate of substantial biological, rather than psychological origin. The study suggests that combination of EEG and EP parameters can contribute to the evaluation of brain function as a whole for clinical and forensic applications.