UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring the neurophysiological effect of aerobic exercise in concussion : an EEG feasibility study O' Flaherty, Patrick


Concussion is a complex and dynamic injury that involves alterations in brain function. This can present clinically as post-concussive symptoms and exercise intolerance. However, functional brain changes can extend beyond the point of clinical recovery. This can lead to increased brain vulnerability when returning to play as complete physiological recovery has not yet been achieved. Neuroimaging techniques such as Electroencephalography (EEG) can quantify functional brain changes that are present after sustaining a concussion. Despite advances in neuroimaging techniques, there is a paucity of research evaluating the effect exercise has on brain function following a concussion. The aim of this feasibility study was to evaluate functional brain changes as measured by EEG spectral power in a group of concussed participants in comparison to healthy controls before and after performing a clinical exertion test entitled the Buffalo Concussion Bike Test (BCBT). A secondary aim was to evaluate behavioral differences between the two groups. The study consisted of five concussed and five control participants. Results revealed increased power in the 1-14 frequency range (delta, theta, alpha and low beta) in frontal brain regions of the concussed group in comparison to controls before and after performing the BCBT. EEG data collection was on average 90 to 120 minutes in duration and data quality was high for the majority of participants (83%). Three concussed participants failed the BCBT due to exceeding heart rate criteria, one failed due to symptom increase and one passed the test. Results indicate the feasibility of EEG spectral power as a measure of functional brain changes post-concussion, however the BCBT may not be a suitable concussion exertion protocol for a non-athlete population. For behavioral measures, we found clear group differences when comparing results between concussed and control groups.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International