The Somatic Connection  |   May 2017
The Fundamental Frequency: A New Approach to Concussion Diagnosis in Children
Author Notes
  • Western University of Health Science College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest, Lebanon, Oregon 
Article Information
The Somatic Connection   |   May 2017
The Fundamental Frequency: A New Approach to Concussion Diagnosis in Children
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 2017, Vol. 117, 336-337. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2017.065
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 2017, Vol. 117, 336-337. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2017.065
Kraus N, Thompson EC, Krizman J, Cook K, White-Schwoch T, LaBella CR. Auditory biological marker of concussion in children. Sci Rep. 2016;6:39009. doi:10.1038/srep39009 
Concussions are increasingly being identified as a significant health concern, especially among children who participate in sport-related activities. Approximately 1.6 to 3.8 million traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur each year in the United States1 and result in neurocognitive sequelae that can affect the physical, social, and emotional well-being of children who sustain them. Despite the potential negative effects of TBIs, there is no reliable, objective test to effectively identify and assess the severity of concussion or TBI. Because of the broad symptoms that frequently present after sustaining a concussion and the subjective reporting of those symptoms, researchers at Northwestern University sought to determine whether concussions could be identified and stratified in severity based on an auditory biological marker, the frequency following response (FFR). The FFR is an evoked potential of the nervous system relating to the auditory brainstem response. After a concussive episode, demyelination, axonal injury, and tau protein accumulation have all been established as potential corollary to damage within the neocortex.2 Thus, the researchers hypothesized that there would be a measurable disruption in the processing of the fundamental frequency (F0), an acoustic cue that facilitates pitch perception and identification of sound, and the ability to understand rhythm and stress in speech in patients with a concussion. They predicted that the disruption would result in delayed and smaller response of the FFR. 
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