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. 2017;27(1):27-37.
doi: 10.3233/VES-170607.

Visual-vestibular Processing Deficits in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

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Visual-vestibular Processing Deficits in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

W G Wright et al. J Vestib Res. .

Abstract

Background: The search for reliable and valid signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), commonly synonymous with concussion, has lead to a growing body of evidence that individuals with long-lasting, unremitting impairments often experience visual and vestibular symptoms, such as dizziness, postural and gait disturbances.

Objective: Investigate the role of visual-vestibular processing deficits following concussion.

Methods: A number of clinically accepted vestibular, oculomotor, and balance assessments as well as a novel virtual reality (VR)-based balance assessment device were used to assess adults with post-acute concussion (n = 14) in comparison to a healthy age-matched cohort (n = 58).

Results: Significant between-group differences were found with the VR-based balance device (p = 0.001), with dynamic visual motion emerging as the most discriminating balance condition. The symptom reports collected after performing the oculomotor and vestibular tests: rapid alternating horizontal eye saccades, optokinetic stimulation, and gaze stabilization, were all sensitive to health status (p < 0.05), despite the absence of oculomotor abnormalities being observed, except for near-point convergence. The BESS, King-Devick, and Dynamic Visual Acuity tests did not detect between-group differences.

Conclusion: Postural and visual-vestibular tasks most closely linked to spatial and self-motion perception had the greatest discriminatory outcomes. The current findings suggest that mesencephalic and parieto-occipital centers and pathways may be involved in concussion.

Keywords: Key words: Concussion; near point convergence; optokinetic stimulation; posture; virtual reality.

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