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Brain Behav Immun. 2015 May;46:1-16. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2015.02.009. Epub 2015 Feb 28.

A review of the neuro- and systemic inflammatory responses in post concussion symptoms: Introduction of the "post-inflammatory brain syndrome" PIBS.

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Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, Clinical Skills Building, London, Ontario N6A 5C1, Canada.
Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, McMaster Children's Hospital, Pediatric Neurology, MUMC 3A, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1, Canada.
Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, and Hamilton Neurorestorative Group, McMaster University, HSC 4E15, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3Z5, Canada.
Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology, McMaster University - Juravinski Hospital, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1, Canada. Electronic address:
Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, University Health Network - Toronto Rehab - University Centre, 550 University Ave, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2A2, Canada.


Post-concussion syndrome is an aggregate of symptoms that commonly present together after head injury. These symptoms, depending on definition, include headaches, dizziness, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and cognitive impairment. However, these symptoms are common, occurring frequently in non-head injured controls, leading some to question the existence of post-concussion syndrome as a unique syndrome. Therefore, some have attempted to explain post-concussion symptoms as post-traumatic stress disorder, as they share many similar symptoms and post-traumatic stress disorder does not require head injury. This explanation falls short as patients with post-concussion syndrome do not necessarily experience many key symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Therefore, other explanations must be sought to explain the prevalence of post-concussion like symptoms in non-head injury patients. Many of the situations in which post-concussion syndrome like symptoms may be experienced such as infection and post-surgery are associated with systemic inflammatory responses, and even neuroinflammation. Post-concussion syndrome itself has a significant neuroinflammatory component. In this review we examine the evidence of neuroinflammation in post-concussion syndrome and the potential role systemic inflammation plays in post-concussion syndrome like symptoms. We conclude that given the overlap between these conditions and the role of inflammation in their etiologies, a new term, post-inflammatory brain syndromes (PIBS), is necessary to describe the common outcomes of many different inflammatory insults. The concept of post-concussion syndrome is in its evolution therefore, the new term post-inflammatory brain syndromes provides a better understanding of etiology of its wide-array of symptoms and the wide array of conditions they can be seen in.


Brain concussion; Brain injuries; Inflammation; Post-concussion syndrome

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