RESEARCH ARTICLE


Developing the Standard of Care for Post-Concussion Treatment: Neuroimaging-Guided Rehabilitation of Neurovascular Coupling



Benjamin H. Wing1, 5, *, Braden J. Tucker1, 4, Alina K. Fong1, 3, Mark D. Allen1, 2
1 Cognitive FX, Provo, UT, USA
2 Notus Neuropsychological Imaging, Orem, UT, USA
3 Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Provo, UT, USA
4 Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, USA
5 American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Cupecoy, St. Maarten, USA


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© 2017 Wing et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Cognitive FX, Provo, UT, USA; Tel: +385-375-8590; Fax: +888-511-1397; E-mail: info@cognitivefxusa.com


Abstract

Background:

Emerging research proposes the imbalance between microvascular supply and metabolic demand as a contributing factor in the pathophysiology of mild traumatic brain injury. Prolonged effects on the dysregulation of neurovascular coupling may explain persistent symptomatic models such as Post-Concussion Syndrome.

Objective:

Increased knowledge of what we refer to as neurovascular uncoupling provides a template for establishing a new concussion treatment standard in the assessment and therapeutic guidance of concussion.

Methods:

The degree and localization of neurovascular uncoupling were statistically contextualized against a normative-based atlas in 270 concussed patients. Functional NeuroCognitive ImagingTM was used to establish pre-treatment benchmarks and guide neurotherapy. Conventional and functional neurocognitive imaging-directed measures were used to evaluate post-rehabilitative outcomes.

Results:

Functional neurocognitive imaging was successful in identifying regions of Neurovascular uncoupling unique to each patient’s brain and concussion profile. Longitudinal objective outcome measures demonstrated timely and lasting improvement of neurovascular coupling functioning in a significant majority of patients.

Conclusion:

We present practice-based evidence supporting the clinical administration of functional neurocognitive imaging with particular efficacy in the neurorehabilitation of concussion. We advocate the reliability of functional neurocognitive imaging in assessing severity and localization of neurovascular uncoupling, and promote its use in the therapeutic guidance and neurorehabilitation of mild traumatic brain injury. We further support the continual exploration of other potential pathophysiological alterations resulting from concussion.

Keywords: Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), Concussion, Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS), Neurovascular Coupling (NVC), Neurovascular Uncoupling (NVU), Neurorehabilitation, Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) signals, Functional neurocognitive imagingTM (fNCI).