Concussion Research

Concussion Research

The concussion program at UPMC has produced several groundbreaking and pioneering studies. Our approach to concussion assessment, treatment, rehabilitation, and education is rooted in evidence-based research found in respected, peer-reviewed journals of medicine. While we’ve published more than 200, here are a few key publications:

A brief vestibular and ocular motor screening (VOMS) assessment to evaluate preliminary concussion: Preliminary findings

This study analyzes patients following sports-related concussions to test the effectiveness of vestibular and ocular motor screenings (VOMS) in identifying concussions. This tool, developed by the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, is used as part of a comprehensive approach to assess and manage concussions.

Mucha A, Collins MW, Elbin RJ, Furman JM, Troutman-Enseki C, DeWolf RM, Marchetti GF, Kontos AP. A brief vestibular and ocular motor screening (VOMS) assessment to evaluate preliminary concussion: Preliminary findings. American Journal of Sports Medicine; Oct. 2014; 42(10):2479-86.

Incidence of sports-related concussion among youth football players aged 8-12

This study investigates the risk of concussion among youth football players aged 8 to 12 by examining concussion cases throughout western Pennsylvania during the 2011 football season. The study found that the majority of concussions occurred after head-to-head contact and concluded that participation in games carried a higher risk of concussions than practice.

Kontos AP, Elbin RJ, Fazio-Sumrock VC, Burkhart S, Swindell H, Maroon J, Collins MW. Incidence of sports-related concussion among youth football players aged 8-12. Journal of Pediatrics, Sep. 2013; 163(3):717-20.

Combat-related blast exposure and traumatic brain injury influence brain glucose metabolism during REM sleep in military veterans

This study uses technology like fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) to analyze traumatic brain injury (TBI) data in military veterans. The results suggest that the differences in neurobiological matter following a TBI may contribute to chronic sleep disturbances.

Stocker RP, Cieply MA, Paul B, Khan H, Henry LC, Kontos AP, Germain A. Combat-related blast exposure and traumatic brain injury influence brain glucose metabolism during REM sleep in military veterans. Neuroimage, Oct. 2014; 99:207-14.

Residual effects of combat-related mild traumatic brain injury

This study compares mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) sustained through blast, blunt, and combination blast-blunt traumas among United States military personnel. The results indicate that that repeated exposure to these injuries regardless of trauma type may have long term effects including PTSD symptoms as well as loses in visual and verbal memory skills.

Kontos AP, Kotwal RS, Elbin RJ, Lutz RH, Forsten RD, Benson PJ, Guskiewicz KM. Residual effects of combat-related mild traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, April 15, 2013; 30(8); 680-86.

Post-traumatic migraine as a predictor of recovery and cognitive impairment after sports-related concussion

This study examines posttraumatic migraines following concussions in high school football players to identify if the presence of migraines intensifies other concussion symptoms. The results suggest posttraumatic migraines may be associated with longer recoveries and more persistent symptoms for sports-related concussions.

Kontos AP, Elbin RJ, Lau B, Simensky S, Freund B, French J, Collins MW. Post-traumatic migraine as a predictor of recovery and cognitive impairment after sports-related concussion. American Journal of Sports Medicine, Jul. 2013; 41(7):1497-504.

Sex differences in white matter abnormalities after mild traumatic brain injury: Localization and correlation with outcome

This study analyzes diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) data from patients with mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to identify the impact of central white matter injuries on vestibulopathy. The results suggest posttraumatic vestibulopathy is impacted by central white matter injuries and that DTI evaluation can help both diagnose and monitor patient progress.

Fakhran S, Yaeger K, Collins MW, Alhilali L. Sex differences in white matter abnormalities after mild traumatic brain injury: Localization and correlation with outcome. Radiology, Sept. 2014:272(3):815-23.

A comprehensive, targeted approach to the clinical care of athletes following concussion

This study evaluates clinical methods and concepts used to treat concussions. The results find that an individualized approach with comprehensive assessments and specific clinical trajectories can help athletes safely return to play following injuries.

Collins MW, Kontos AP, Reynolds E, Murawski, CD, Fu FH. A comprehensive, targeted approach to the clinical care of athletes following concussion. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, Feb. 2014; 22(2):235-46.