Long-term outcome after mild Traumatic Brain Injury in elderly (ReCONNECT study)

Researcher: Mayra Bittencourt Villalpando, MSc (PhD student)

Expected thesis defense: 2022

Second promotor: Prof. dr. Joukje van der Naalt

Funding: BCN-BRAIN

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality in adults. Mild TBI (mTBI) accounts for 85% of cases and 15-20% of those patients suffer from persistent complaints that interfere with resumption of daily activities. The number of elderly sustaining a TBI is increasing due to growing life expectancy and now comprises 20% of all TBI hospital admissions. The majority of TBI in the elderly is caused by a fall and related to high health care costs. Concomitant brain injury is often not reported, although repetitive head injury is related to worsening of symptoms, cognitive decline and dementia. Yet, the effect of mild TBI on cognitive and physical functioning and its relation with long-term psychosocial functioning and quality of life in elderly patients who are more vulnerable to develop persistent complaints in view of age-related cognitive decline has scarcely been investigated.

The objectives of the ReCONNECT study are twofold:

1) To study the relation between cognitive and physical recovery after mTBI in elderly and long-term psychosocial functioning and quality of life.

2) To study the effect of mTBI in elderly as external stressor on the course of age-related cognitive decline and the development of persistent complaints in relation to acute and long-term brain network connectivity changes.


  • Bittencourt-Villalpando, M., van der Horn, H. J., Maurits, N. M. & van der Naalt, J. (2021). Disentangling the effects of age and mild traumatic brain injury on brain network connectivity: A resting state fMRI study. NeuroImage. Clinical. 29, 14 p., 102534. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213158220303715
  • Balart-Sánchez, S. A., Bittencourt-Villalpando, M., van der Naalt, J. & Maurits, N. M. (2021). Electroencephalography, Magnetoencephalography, and Cognitive Reserve: A Systematic Review. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33522563/
  • Bittencourt-Villalpando, M., van der Horn, H., Liemburg, E., Maurits, N. & van der Naalt, J. (2019). Age and Gender Effects on Resting State Networks after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Brain Injury. 33, p. 169.
  • Bittencourt Villalpando, M. & Maurits, N. M. (2019). Linear SVM algorithm optimization for an EEG-based Brain-Computer Interface used by high functioning autism spectrum disorder participants. XV Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing – Medicon 2019. Springer Nature, p. 1875-1884. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-31635-8_228
  • Bittencourt-Villalpando, M. & Maurits, N. M. (2018). Stimuli and Feature Extraction Algorithms for Brain-Computer Interfaces: a systematic comparison.  IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. 26, 9, p. 1669-1679. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8410884

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