Animal Model of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: An Assessment of Impact Location
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With a high prevalence of mild traumatic brain injuries that occur in sports today, more research is needed in order to reveal the biomechanics behind these devastating and often life-changing injuries. At the professional level, the high paced nature of football places athletes at an increased risk of brain injury as concussion rates have increased over the years. New safety protocols have put in place in an effort to curb the rate of head injuries, but more research is required in order to enhance these safety protocols. In this study, a rodent concussion model was created in order to study the effects of concussions in different locations of the head. Using a controlled cortical impactor device, identical concussive impacts were applied to 2 different locations (top and back) on the head of Sprague Dawley rats (n = 24). Balance and memory were assessed before and after the impact using angle board and novel object recognition tests respectively in order to determine the severity of the concussive impacts. Unpaired t-tests for balance testing revealed a p-value of 0.00029414 for impacts to the top of the head, revealing a significant decline in balance post-injury for this group of animals while the unpaired t-tests for impacts to the back of the head revealed a p-value of 0.1852, indicating no significant change in balance. Memory tests were unable to find significant changes in memory post-injury. Statistically, a head injury was successfully produced at the top of the head, but not at the back. This may indicate that injuries to the top of the head are more susceptible to concussion than the back, but further studies involving more sensitive testing methods of balance and memory are required in order to statistically prove a significant difference between the two locations.