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WASHINGTON UNIV SEATTLE DEPT OF NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY
The goal of the investigation was to study the physiological alternations of central nervous system activity which accompany concussion in the effort to understand the genesis of coma and the associated pathophysiological changes which underly this phenomenon. The matter was studied in monkeys following acceleration concussion. It was found that evoked potentials recorded in the lateral sensory pathways are not altered during the coma associated with concussion. On the other hand, responses in the reticular activating system of the brain stem evoked by afferent stimulation are markedly attenuated or abolished by concussion. The spontaneous electrical activity of the cerebral cortex, as well as certain subcortical regions, was also monitored during and following concussion, and it was demonstrated that changes in cortical activity were, in general, surprisingly minimal in view of the massive changes in physiological function. In the majority of instances, a generalized flattening of the record appeared immediately after the blow followed by some slow way of activity with return to control levels in periods ranging from ten minutes to several hours. In subcortical regions the electrical activity paralleled that seen in the cortex.