Long-term outcome after mild traumatic brain injury in elderly and its relation with changes in brain network connectivity and cognitive ageing (ReCONNECT study)

Researcher: Sebastian Balart Sanchez, MSc (PhD student)

Expected thesis defense: 2021

Second promotor: Prof. dr. Joukje van der Naalt

Funding: Conacyt – Baha Sur

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality in adults. Mild TBI (mTBI) accounts for 85% of cases and 15-20% of those patients suffer from persistent complaints that interfere with resumption of daily activities. The number of elderly sustaining a TBI is increasing due to growing life expectancy and now comprises 20% of all TBI hospital admissions. The majority of TBI in the elderly is caused by a fall and related to high health care costs. Concomitant brain injury is often not reported, although repetitive head injury is related to worsening of symptoms, cognitive decline and dementia. Yet, the effect of mild TBI on cognitive and physical functioning and its relation with long-term psychosocial functioning and quality of life in elderly patients who are more vulnerable to develop persistent complaints in view of age-related cognitive decline has scarcely been investigated.

The objectives of the ReCONNECT study are twofold:

1) To study the relation between cognitive and physical recovery after mTBI in elderly and long-term psychosocial functioning and quality of life.

2) To study the effect of mTBI in elderly as external stressor on the course of age-related cognitive decline and the development of persistent complaints in relation to acute and long-term brain network connectivity changes.