Objective Dual-Task Turning Measures for Return-to-Duty Assessment After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: The ReTURN Study Protocol

Peter C. Fino, Margaret M. Weightman, Leland E. Dibble, Mark E. Lester, Carrie W. Hoppes, Lucy Parrington, Jorge Arango, Alicia Souvignier, Holly Roberts, Laurie A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Determining readiness for duty after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is essential for the safety of service members and their unit. Currently, these decisions are primarily based on self-reported symptoms, objective measures that assess a single system, or standardized physical or cognitive tests that may be insensitive or lack ecological validity for warrior tasks. While significant technological advancements have been made in a variety of assessments of these individual systems, assessments of isolated tasks are neither diagnostically accurate nor representative of the demands imposed by daily life and military activities. Emerging evidence suggests that complex tasks, such as dual-task paradigms or turning, have utility in probing functional deficits after mTBI. Objective measures from turning tasks in single- or dual-task conditions, therefore, may be highly valuable for clinical assessments and return-to-duty decisions after mTBI. The goals of this study are to assess the diagnostic accuracy, predictive capacity, and responsiveness to rehabilitation of objective, dual-task turning measures within an mTBI population. These goals will be accomplished over two phases. Phase 1 will enroll civilians at three sites and active-duty service members at one site to examine the diagnostic accuracy and predictive capacity of dual-task turning outcomes. Phase 1 participants will complete a series of turning tasks while wearing inertial sensors and a battery of clinical questionnaires, neurocognitive testing, and standard clinical assessments of function. Phase 2 will enroll active-duty service members referred for rehabilitation from two military medical treatment facilities to investigate the responsiveness to rehabilitation of objective dual-task turning measures. Phase 2 participants will complete two assessments of turning while wearing inertial sensors: a baseline assessment prior to the first rehabilitation session and a post-rehabilitation assessment after the physical therapist determines the participant has completed his/her rehabilitation course. A variable selection procedure will then be implemented to determine the best task and outcome measure for return-to-duty decisions based on diagnostic accuracy, predictive capacity, and responsiveness to rehabilitation. Overall, the results of this study will provide guidance and potential new tools for clinical decisions in individuals with mTBI. Clinical Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov, Identifier NCT03892291.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number544812
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2021

Keywords

  • concussion
  • gait
  • inertial sensors
  • return to sport (RTS)
  • wearable sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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