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The Use of an Electrophysiological Brain Function Index in the Evaluation of Concussed Athletes

Brooks, M. Alison MD; Bazarian, Jeffrey J. MD; Prichep, Leslie S. PhD; Dastidar, Samanwoy Ghosh PhD; Talavage, Thomas M. PhD; Barr, William PhD

Section Editor(s): Caplan, Bruce PhD, ABPP; Bogner, Jennifer PhD, ABPP; Brenner, Lisa PhD, ABPP; Malec, James PhD, ABPP

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: January/February 2018 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 1–6
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000328
Original Articles

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the electroencephalographic (EEG) Brain Function Index (BFI) for characterizing sports-related concussive injury and recovery.

Participants: Three hundred fifty-four (354) male contact sport high school and college athletes were prospectively recruited from multiple locations over 6 academic years of play (244 control baseline athletes and 110 athletes with a concussion).

Methods: Using 5 to 10 minutes of eyes closed resting EEG collected from frontal and frontotemporal regions, a BFI was computed for all subjects and sessions. Group comparisons were performed to test for the significance of the difference in the BFI score between the controls at baseline and athletes with a concussion at several time points.

Results: There was no significant difference in BFI between athletes with a concussion at baseline (ie, prior to injury) and controls at baseline (P = .4634). Athletes with a concussion, tested within 72 hours of injury, exhibited significant differences in BFI compared with controls (P = .0036). The significant differences in BFI were no longer observed at 45 days following injury (P = .19).

Conclusion: Controls and athletes with a concussion exhibited equivalent BFI scores at preseason baseline. The concussive injury (measured within 72 hours) significantly affected brain function reflected in the BFI in the athletes with a concussion. The BFI of the athletes with a concussion returned to levels seen in controls by day 45, suggesting recovery. The BFI may provide an important objective marker of concussive injury and recovery.

Department of Orthopedics and Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin (Dr Brooks); Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York (Dr Bazarian); Department of Psychiatry (Dr Prichep) and Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry (Dr Barr), New York University School of Medicine, New York; BrainScope Co, Inc, Bethesda, Maryland (Drs Prichep and Ghosh Dastidar); and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (Dr Talavage).

Corresponding Author: Leslie S. Prichep, PhD, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016 (

The authors acknowledge the contributions of those who made this research possible, including Michael Powers, and the athletic trainers and student athletes who participated in the studies.

Data acquisition for this study was supported in part by research grants to the clinical sites from BrainScope Company, Inc, and from GE NFL Head Health Challenge I. Drs Talavage and Brooks were principal investigators at clinical data acquisition sites. During the first 3 years of data acquisition, Dr Barr was an expert concussion consultant to BrainScope Company, Inc. Dr Bazarian was a principal investigator in a related data acquisition study and served as a thought leader in the field of concussion for BrainScope Company, Inc. Dr Ghosh Dastidar is a biomedical engineer who serves as a senior algorithm development specialist at BrainScope Co, Inc and holds company options. During the period of data acquisition, Dr Prichep was the Director of the Brain Research Laboratories, Department of Psychiatry, at NYU School of Medicine, and served as a paid consultant to BrainScope Company, Inc. Currently, Dr Prichep is the Chief Scientific Officer of BrainScope Company, Inc, and a Professor at NYU School of Medicine. Dr Prichep holds potential financial interest through patented technology licensed by BrainScope Company, Inc, from NYU School of Medicine and company options. BrainScope Company, Inc, had no role other than indicated above, in the conduct of these studies. Strict adherence to ethical concerns was followed and all subjects signed written informed consents for participation in the study.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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