EFFECTS ON SEED-BASED RESTING STATE FMRI OF ONE SEASON OF EXPOSURE TO MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SUBCONCUSSIVE HEAD ACCELERATIONS
thesisposted on 30.04.2021, 11:29 by Xiaoyu Ji
Young football players are hypothesized to experience damage to the brain and brain function from repeated subconcussive head acceleration events (HAEs) during practices and games. Such damage may cause delayed cognitive and mental problems. Resting state fMRI (rs-fMRI) is an effective non-invasive method to detect alterations in brain functional connectivity. Seed-based rsfMRI analysis using the central node of the default mode network (DMN) as the seed is a common approach to measuring intrinsic changes of the DMN, accepted as a key network in brain function. Seed-based rs-fMRI analysis of the DMN was used to explore how age, HAE intensity, and HAE counts influence brain connectivity in youth athletes (ages 12-18). Middle school and high school football players and peer controls were studied using rs-fMRI before and after one season of competition. An identifiability matrix was generated from the seed-based connectivity matrix, allowing measurement of similarity between pre-season and post-season functional connectivity. The consistency of seed-based brain functional connectivity we observed across the season of play for players has no statistically significant difference from controls. The identifiability matrix exhibited no relation to the number and magnitude of any subset of HAEs experienced which rejected our hypothesis. Another finding is that high school football players exhibited the largest percentage increase in identification from middle school football players in the somatomotor network over other resting-state networks.