Today we share some exciting insights from our latest study, a comprehensive examination of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) based on a Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) model.
Our research team has made a significant stride in the understanding of PCS, which is often characterized by a myriad of persistent symptoms that can continue for weeks, months, or even longer after the injury. The focus of our study was to explore the role of cognitive and behavioral responses in the persistence and severity of PCS symptoms.
Through our regression model, we found a significant positive relationship between cognitive responses, like catastrophic thinking and memory concerns, and the severity of PCS symptoms. The same applied to behavioral responses such as avoidance behavior and reassurance-seeking behavior. These responses, individually, accounted for over 50% of the variability in symptom severity, indicating a strong relationship.
Catastrophic thinking refers to exaggerated negative beliefs about the consequences of pain or symptoms, and our study revealed that patients with higher levels of such thinking might perceive their symptoms as more severe and debilitating. Memory concerns also were identified as a major cognitive response in PCS patients, aligning with previous literature that links cognitive impairment in PCS to aspects of FND.
Avoidance behavior and reassurance-seeking were notable behavioral responses that correlated with symptom severity. The former is characterized by patients avoiding activities they believe may exacerbate symptoms, while the latter includes repeated consultations with healthcare providers to seek confirmation that there is nothing seriously wrong.
In sum, our study provides empirical support for the functional element in post-concussive cognitive impairment. The cognitive and behavioral responses akin to those observed in FND are significantly associated with symptom severity in PCS. Our findings suggest the importance of considering these cognitive and behavioral aspects for the effective management of PCS.
It is worth noting that our research had a limited sample size of 45 patients. Therefore, future studies with larger sample sizes and diverse populations are necessary to validate these findings.
Stay tuned to our website for further updates on our continuing research into post-concussion syndrome and other neurological disorders.