Investigating the cognitive and psychological consequences of sports-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)

Summary

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI; also known as concussion) occurs frequently in contact sports due to direct hits or rotational acceleration of the head. While most people recover from their injury, some people are left with deficits which persist long-term, and may worsen over time. The goal of this project is to examine the cognitive and emotional consequences of concussion, both acutely after injury and long-term, and correlate these findings with structural and functional brain changes as assessed by MRI.

Supervisor(s)

Professor Stuart Grieve

Research Location

Newtown - Heart Research Institute

Program Type

Masters/PHD

Synopsis

The Sydney Translational Imaging Laboratory (STIL) at the Heart Research Institute, Sydney, Australia has an exciting opportunity for a PhD studentship examining the psychological and cognitive consequences of sport-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). While the acute symptomatic effects of mTBI have long been realised, increasing attention is being paid to the long-term consequences of mTBI, and the effects of repeated injuries over a playing career. These may appear as cognitive deficits (problems with memory, attention or impulse control) or mental health disturbance (such as depression and anxiety).
This PhD project will use cognitive and psychometric assessment alongside advanced brain MRI imaging and analysis techniques such as ultra-high angular resolution diffusion imaging and tractography to correlate deficits to changes in brain structure and function in sportspeople suffering mTBI, and assess changes over time in subjects both with and without repeated mTBIs. We have recently acquired the highest-ever resolution image of the brain, and are applying this methodology across a number of concussion projects under our "Brain Passport" program - designed to both generate scientific novel findings and provide practical diagnostic tools to improve clinical management of concussion.Our research examines populations that are diverse in age and sporting history, with multiple recruitment and assessment sites across Australia. PhD students will be actively trained in administration and analysis of neuropsychological and cognitive data, as well as analysis of imaging data and statistical techniques.

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Keywords

mild traumatic brain injury, sports concussion, mental health, cognitive function, MRI, diffusion imaging, tractography.

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2414

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