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Toronto (Nov. 28, 2016) – Researchers at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre's (KNC) Canadian Concussion Centre (CCC) have identified symptom trends that may not only help predict how soon patients suffering from post-concussion syndrome (PCS) will recover, but also provide insight on how to treat those who experience persistent concussion symptoms.
The findings were published today in the Journal of Neurotrauma.
Using a clustergram analysis to visualize potential patterns between patients and symptoms, researchers analyzed data collected from 110 patients suffering from PCS. The results of the analysis yielded new insights about the condition that will help health practitioners better inform and treat PCS sufferers. The study found that:
"These findings flag that the presence of multiple symptoms with PCS may indicate a prolonged illness," says Dr. Charles Tator, neurosurgeon and director of the CCC who led the study. "Although more research is needed, based on these findings I would encourage health practitioners to pay attention to the multiplicity of symptoms in PCS patients and vigorously treat as many of them as possible to increase chances of recovery."
According to existing research, PCS affects anywhere from five to 43 per cent of concussed individuals, people who would otherwise fully recover within the first three months of sustaining a concussion. Little is known about the exact cause of PCS, and it is also unknown whether PCS is a predictor of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) a progressive neurodegenerative disease that has been linked to multiple concussions.
"There is such a wide range of recovery among PCS sufferers that further investigation is necessary to better understand the condition," says Tator. "Once we can better characterize this phase of concussion injury, we hope that will help us determine whether there is also a link with CTE."
The research team will continue to follow the study participants for at least 10 years to note any changes in their symptoms, and to determine if there is any further recovery.
Clustergram analysis is part of machine learning technology, an emerging field in healthcare that provides mathematical support to analyze large amounts of information and data in order to identify significant patterns in a wide variety of diseases. In the present study, many of the findings were only apparent by using machine learning.
The CCC comprises a group of 23 clinician and basic scientists, and is one of few research groups in the world to examine the entire spectrum of concussion disorders from acute injury to chronic illness including brain degeneration. The team harnesses the expertise of scientists and clinicians in brain injuries, imaging, genetics, neuropsychology, neurology, neurosurgery, neuropathology and clinical care at the KNC and other brain research facilities to further understanding of this common brain injury that can cause lasting disability. For more information please visit the CCC website.
The Krembil Neuroscience Centre (KNC), located at Toronto Western Hospital, is home to one of the largest combined clinical and research neurological facilities in North America. Since opening in 2001, KNC has been recognized as a world leader through its research achievements, education and exemplary patient care. The centre focuses on the advancement, detection and treatment of neurological diseases and specializes in movement disorders, dementias, stroke, spinal cord injury, blinding eye diseases, epilepsy and cancer-related conditions. For more information, please visit www.krembil.com
Toronto Western Hospital has been serving the health care needs of its culturally diverse local community for more than 100 years. Home to the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, one of the largest combined clinical and research neurological facilities in North America, the Toronto Western Hospital is a leader in medical research and also offers expertise in community and population health and musculoskeletal health and arthritis. The Toronto Western Hospital, along with the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, is a member of the University Health Network and is affiliated with the University of Toronto.
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