Performance à des tâches locomotrices et cognitives simultanées à la suite de traumatismes craniocérébraux légers

Authors: Gagné, Marie-Ève
Advisor: McFadyen, Bradford JamesOuellet, Marie-Christine
Abstract: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as concussion, can cause cognitive, sensorimotor and neurophysiological alterations which can be observed days and even months post-injury. Presently, mTBI clinical assessments are often focused on either cognitive deficits or physical function separately. Evaluating these spheres of function in isolation, however, is not always ecological enough to capture how an individual will function in day-to-day life where cognitive and sensorimotor demands are often simultaneous. Recent laboratory-based studies have suggested that dual-tasks combining motor and cognitive tasks are a promising way to detect differences between healthy participants and individuals having sustained mTBI. However, studies are very heterogeneous in terms of tasks used and variables measured, few of them focus on variables that could influence dual-task performance and many are not readily transferable to a clinical setting. This doctoral thesis aimed at identifying a sensitive, ecologically valid dual-task protocol combining locomotor and cognitive demands to evaluate the residual effects of mTBI both in a laboratory environment (Study 1) and a clinical setting (Study 2). Using gait laboratory measures, the first study’s objectives were (1) to compare performance on cognitive and gait parameters using different dual-tasks in healthy controls and young adults with mTBI, and (2) to examine the effect of number of mTBIs sustained on dual-task performance. Exploratory correlations to investigate relationships between neuropsychological testing and dual-task performance were also calculated. Eighteen participants with mTBI (13 women; age 21.89 ±3.76, on average 59.56 days post-injury ±24.12) and fifteen control participants (9 women; age 22.20 ±4.33) were recruited. A battery of neuropsychological tests was used to assess verbal fluency, executive function, memory and attention. A physiological examination comprised assessment of grip strength, upper-limb coordination, as well as static and dynamic balance. Subjective symptoms were also assessed. A 9-camera motion analysis system (Vicon) was used to characterize gait. Participants were asked to walk along a 6-meter walkway during three conditions of locomotion: (1) level-walking, (2) walking and stepping over a deep obstacle (15 cm high x 15 cm deep), and (3) walking and stepping over a narrow obstacle (15 cm high x 3 cm deep) and three cognitive conditions: (1) Counting backwards by 2s, (2) Verbal fluency, and (3) Stroop task. These tasks were performed in combination and as single tasks. No significant differences were found between groups on neuropsychological tests, but the physiological examination revealed that the mTBI group had slower gait speed and were more unstable than the control group. The dual-task experimentation showed that mTBI had slower gait speed, in both single and dual-tasks, and slower response time during dualtasks. No combination of dual-task was revealed to be more sensitive to distinguish groups. In a clinical-like setting, the second study’s objective was to compare mTBI individuals with healthy controls, using accessible technology to assess performance. Twenty participants with mTBI (10 women; age 22.10 ±2.97, 70.9 days post-injury ±22.31) and 20 control participants (10 women; age 22.55 ±2.72) were recruited. Subjective symptoms, history of impacts, a short neuropsychological battery and subjective fatigue and concentration symptoms during experimentation were used to characterized groups. Participants walked back and forth two times along a 10 m long corridor, during two locomotor conditions: (1) level-walking or (2) walking and stepping over three obstacles and two cognitive conditions; (1) Counting backwards by 7s, and (2) Verbal fluency. These tasks were performed in combination and as single-tasks. Only a stopwatch and an observation grid were used to assess performance. Participants reported being significantly less concentrated during dual-task experimentation. Significantly greater dual-task cost for gait speed in the mTBI group were observed, which demonstrated increased difficulty in dual-task, even more than two months following the injury. This thesis highlights that dual-task protocols combining locomotor and cognitive tasks could represent a simple, practical and sensitive way for clinicians to detect residual alterations even months following mTBI. More work is needed to identify personal characteristics, such as mTBI history, that could influence performance. A reflection on how protocols could be developed according to clinical restrictions and needs is much required in order to pursue research of dual-tasks.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 1 October 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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