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. 2018 Mar 1;35(5):719-729.
doi: 10.1089/neu.2017.5274. Epub 2018 Feb 12.

Decreased Number of Self-Paced Saccades in Post-Concussion Syndrome Associated With Higher Symptom Burden and Reduced White Matter Integrity

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Decreased Number of Self-Paced Saccades in Post-Concussion Syndrome Associated With Higher Symptom Burden and Reduced White Matter Integrity

Foad Taghdiri et al. J Neurotrauma. .

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the potential utility of a self-paced saccadic eye movement as a marker of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) and monitoring the recovery from PCS. Fifty-nine persistently symptomatic participants with at least two concussions performed the self-paced saccade (SPS) task. We evaluated the relationships between the number of SPSs and 1) number of self-reported concussion symptoms, and 2) integrity of major white matter (WM) tracts (as measured by fractional anisotropy [FA] and mean diffusivity) that are directly or indirectly involved in saccadic eye movements and often affected by concussion. These tracts included the uncinate fasciculus (UF), cingulum (Cg) and its three subcomponents (subgenual, retrosplenial, and parahippocampal), superior longitudinal fasciculus, and corpus callosum. Mediation analyses were carried out to examine whether specific WM tracts (left UF and left subgenual Cg) mediated the relationship between the number of SPSs and 1) interval from last concussion or 2) total number of self-reported symptoms. The number of SPSs was negatively correlated with the total number of self-reported symptoms (r = -0.419, p = 0.026). The number of SPSs were positively correlated with FA of left UF and left Cg (r = 0.421, p = 0.013 and r = 0.452, p = 0.008; respectively). FA of the subgenual subcomponent of the left Cg partially mediated the relationship between the total number of symptoms and the number of SPSs, while FA of the left UF mediated the relationship between interval from last concussion and the number of SPSs. In conclusion, SPS testing as a fast and objective assessment may reflect symptom burden in patients with PCS. In addition, since the number of SPSs is associated with the integrity of some WM tracts, it may be useful as a diagnostic biomarker in patients with PCS.

Keywords: concussion; oculomotor function; post-concussion syndrome; saccades; white matter.

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