Poster E93, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Long-Term Effects of Concussion and Contact History on Cognitive Function in Middle-Adulthood
Eleanna Varangis1, Kelly Giovanello1, Neil Mulligan1, Kathleen Gates1, Jessica Cohen1, Kevin Guskiewicz1; 1The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Long-term effects of concussion history in older age are well-documented and include deficits in most domains of cognition and measures of neural efficiency and integrity. Studies in young adults with a history of concussions past the acute recovery period have been mixed - some have found an effect of concussions on executive functioning and memory within a few years of their last concussion, while others have found no observed impairments as a function of concussion history. However, little is known about the neurocognitive health of individuals with a history of concussions in middle-adulthood. The present study recruited three groups of former athletes in order to assess the effect of concussions and contact sport participation on cognitive function in middle-adulthood: (1) former collegiate football players with a history of 4 or more concussions, (2) former collegiate football players with no history of concussions, and (3) former non-contact sport athletes with no history of concussions. Participants completed a battery of neurocognitive assessments, genotyping, and an fMRI scan including both structural and functional (resting and task-based) imaging. Task-based fMRI was collected in the context of a paired-associate learning paradigm in which word pairs varied by associative strength, and memory was tested during a cued recall period following encoding. Results showed some behavioral differences as a function of concussion and contact history, but significant neural network reorganization associated with concussion history, but not contact history. This pattern is suggestive of minimal observable cognitive impairment, but considerable neural inefficiency associated with concussion history in middle-adulthood.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic