Blood Pressure Control in Concussion

This study will examine autonomic control of blood pressure in patients recently diagnosed with a concussion.

Principal Investigator: Blair Johnson, PhD

Funding Agency: University at Buffalo NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (UL1TR001412) Pilot Studies Program  

Period: 2017-2018

Abstract: Many concussed patients report dizziness and lightheadedness during sit-to-stand tests and orthostatic intolerance in concussed patients has been reported in the literature. These findings indicate that concussed patients exhibit an inability to properly activate the sympathetic nervous system to regulate blood pressure. Using advanced MRI techniques, we have shown that many concussed patients have abnormalities in areas where autonomic control centers are housed in the brainstem. Collectively, these observations indicate that autonomic control of blood pressure is impaired in concussed patients, which might be related to brainstem abnormalities. Our lab uses microneurography to directly asses muscle sympathetic nerve activity in humans, but this technique has not been applied to examine the control of blood pressure in concussed patients. We will use microneurography to assess sympathetic activity during acute periods of hypo- and hypertension as well as advanced MRI techniques to understand the mechanisms that underpin concussion pathophysiology.