Recovery of clinical, cognitive and cortical activity measures following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI): A longitudinal investigation

Hannah L. Coyle, Neil W. Bailey, Jennie Ponsford, Kate E. Hoy*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    The mechanisms that underpin recovery following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) remain poorly understood. Identifying neurophysiological markers and their functional significance is necessary to develop diagnostic and prognostic indicators of recovery. The current study assessed 30 participants in the subacute phase of mTBI (10–31 days post-injury) and 28 demographically matched controls. Participants also completed 3 month (mTBI: N = 21, control: N = 25) and 6 month (mTBI: N = 15, control: N = 25) follow up sessions to track recovery. At each time point, a battery of clinical, cognitive, and neurophysiological assessments was completed. Neurophysiological measures included resting-state electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with EEG (TMS-EEG). Outcome measures were analysed using mixed linear models (MLM). Group differences in mood, post-concussion symptoms and resting-state EEG resolved by 3 months, and recovery was maintained at 6 months. On TMS-EEG derived neurophysiological measures of cortical reactivity, group differences ameliorated at 3 months but re-emerged at 6 months, while on measures of fatigue, group differences persisted across all time points. Persistent neurophysiological changes and greater fatigue in the absence of measurable cognitive impairment may suggest the impact of mTBI on neuronal communication may leads to increased neural effort to maintain efficient function. Neurophysiological measures to track recovery may help identify both temporally optimal windows and therapeutic targets for the development of new treatments in mTBI.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)14-25
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


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