Effect of graded aerobic exercise in mild traumatic brain injury

Project leader:

Marianne Løvstad, head of psychology, SRH, Prof. Dept of Psychology, UiO


This study aims at improving knowledge about post-concussion symptoms (PCS) in patients with mild traumatic brain injury, investigate the effect of a rehabilitation strategy that might alleviate PCS, and will explore potential mechanisms underlying PCS. We will investigate whether graded aerobic exercise reduces PCS burden, in particular “activity intolerance”, a common PCS feature, and whether it also impacts upon alterations in the autonomic nervOUH system and cerebral blod flow, both being mechanisms hypothesized to contribute to PCS. This study is designed as a randomized controlled study with two assessment points, before and after a 12-week exercise program, where exercise intensity is below the threshold that causes PCS exacerbation. Patients aged 18-60, with activity intolerance 3 months-2 years after injury, will be recruited and randomized into an intervention and a control group. Both groups will receive multidisciplinary assessment and follow-up. The intervention group is instructed to follow an exercise program, which is individually adjusted based on results from a standardized test of activity intolerance. The main outcome measure is self-reported symptom burden assessed by the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptom Questionnaire. In addition, Cold Pressor Test assesses autonomic nervOUH system activity and cerebral blood flow is measured by Arterial spin labeling MRI (in 1/3 of the participants). Study results may improve assessment and target treatment of PCS.  

Lars Nysæther, MD, PhD candidate

Nada Andelic, specialist in physical medicine and rehab, Research leader OUH/Professor, Faculty of medicine, UiO, main supervisor

Ingerid Kleffelgård, physiotherapist, OUH, co-supervisor

Marianne Løvstad, co-supervisor

Helene Lundgaard Søberg, physiotherapist OUH, Professor OsloMet, co-supervisor

Daniel Løke, psychologist, SRH

Terje Gjøvaag, Ass. Prof. at OsloMet

Karoline Skogen, neuroradiologist, PhD, OUH

John Leddy, MD, Clin. Prof., medical director Concussion Management Clinic, University at Buffalo 

Ethical approvals

REK: 568516, SIKT: 436028


Stiftelsen Dam

Last updated 12/10/2023