Critical Flicker Frequency in Traumatic Brain Injury
Chang, Tina T.
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SubjectTraumatic brain injury; acquired brain injury; critical flicker fusion frequency; temporal processing; magnocellular pathway; motion sensitivity; light sensitivity
Primary Objective: To determine whether critical flicker frequency (CFF) thresholds are elevated in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and correlated with the degree of motion and light sensitivity. Methods and procedures: The foveal CFF threshold was assessed in individuals with TBI (n=18) having varying degrees of light and motion sensitivity. Mean CFF values were obtained using the ascending and descending psychophysical method of limits with binocular viewing at 40 cm. A rating-scale questionnaire was used to assess the degree of light sensitivity and motion sensitivity. These parameters were also assessed in a visually-normal cohort. Main outcomes and results: CFF in the TBI group was not significantly different across age groups from the visually- normal cohort. However, mean CFF among the TBI subjects was significantly higher for the “light sensitive” and “motion sensitive” subgroups when compared to the “not light sensitive” and “not motion sensitive” subgroups. The majority of TBI subjects had both light and motion sensitivity. Conclusion: An elevated CFF among a subgroup of TBI subjects may be related to the symptoms of light and motion sensitivity that many TBI patients experience. Underlying mechanisms involving disinhibition of the magnocellular pathway as a result of brain injury may be causal of the hypersensitivity to light and motion. CFF thresholds can potentially aid clinicians in determining methods of treatment for TBI patients.