TORONTO (January 7, 2014) – A study out of Boston Children's Hospital, published January 6th in Pediatrics, links cognitive rest to hastened concussion recovery. The Boston researchers say the study is the first to show independent, beneficial effects of limiting cognitive activity on recovery from concussion.
"What's exciting about this study out of Boston Children's Hospital is the empirical evidence validating our current clinical practices here at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, says Dr. Michelle Keightley, who leads the Concussion Research Centre in Holland Bloorview's research institute. "The recommendation for cognitive rest immediately following a sports-related concussion aligns with our own clinical methods and research findings."
Dr. Keightley agrees with the Boston researchers' concern that complete abstinence from cognitive activity for a prolonged period of time may be unnecessary. "In the Concussion Research Centre, we believe it is possible that prolonged abstinence from activity (and related social interaction), can actually result in more harm than good, affecting a client's mood and causing depression or anxiety." Instead, she and her team provide initial cognitive rest following a concussion, followed by gradual reintroduction of activities that require cognition, like school work, texting and computer activity.
Dr. Keightley and her team are the recipients of two major grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to support mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) research. The funding, totaling $1.2 million dollars over the next five years, will support the "NeuroCare" research project which focuses on three crucial paths to improving concussion treatment: identification, assessment, and management for kids and youth.
Dr. Nick Reed, a clinician scientist in the Concussion Research Centre, likes to describe the brain as a gas tank. "Everything we do in our normal day, both cognitive and physical activities, uses fuel from this gas tank. When you have a concussion, a large portion of that fuel is being used to heal the injury, which leaves less fuel available to perform daily activities. And when the tank is totally empty, that's when we see the most severe post-concussion symptoms, including headaches, nausea, and difficulty concentrating."
About our experts
Dr. Michelle Keightley, Senior Clinician Scientist and Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto, leads the Concussion Research Centre in the Bloorview Research Institute, and co-leads the Centre for Leadership in Acquired Brain Injury at Holland Bloorview. She was recently named the inaugural holder of the Holland Family Chair in Acquired Brain Injury at Holland Bloorview.
Dr. Nick Reed, Clinician Scientist in the Concussion Research Centre and Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto, serves as co-manager of the Centre for Leadership in Acquired Brain Injury.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Michelle Keightley or Dr. Nick Reed, please contact:
Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
416-425-6220, extension 3497
Senior Communications Associate
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
416-425-6220, extension 6409
You can read the study from Boston Children's Hospital in this month's Pediatrics and online:
Effect of Cognitive Activity Level on Duration of Post-Concussion Symptoms. Naomi J. Brown, Rebekah C. Mannix, Michael J. O'Brien, David Gostine, Michael W. Collins and William P. Meehan III. Pediatrics; originally published online January 6, 2014
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Bloorview Research Institute
Holland Bloorview is Canada's largest children's rehabilitation hospital, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. We pioneer treatments, technologies, therapies and real-world programs that give children with disabilities the tools to participate fully in life. Located onsite, the Bloorview Research Institute is the only hospital-embedded pediatric rehabilitation institute in Canada. Established in 2004, the internationally recognized Bloorview Research Institute is dedicated to improving the lives of children with disabilities through client and family-centred rehabilitation research.