Diffusion Tensor Imaging Parameters in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Its Correlation with Early Neuropsychological Impairment: A Longitudinal Study

J Neurotrauma 2015; 32: 1497-509


Veeramuthu V, Narayanan V, Kuo TL, Delano-Wood L, Chinna K, Bondi MW, Waran V, Ganesan D, Ramli N


We explored the prognostic value of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) parameters of selected white matter (WM) tracts in predicting neuropsychological outcome, both at baseline and 6 months later, among well-characterized patients diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Sixty-one patients with mTBI (mean age=27.08; standard deviation [SD], 8.55) underwent scanning at an average of 10 h (SD, 4.26) post-trauma along with assessment of their neuropsychological performance at an average of 4.35 h (SD, 7.08) upon full Glasgow Coma Scale recovery. Results were then compared to 19 healthy control participants (mean age=29.05; SD, 5.84), both in the acute stage and 6 months post-trauma. DTI and neuropsychological measures between acute and chronic phases were compared, and significant differences emerged. Specifically, chronic-phase fractional anisotropy and radial diffusivity values showed significant group differences in the corona radiata, anterior limb of internal capsule, cingulum, superior longitudinal fasciculus, optic radiation, and genu of corpus callosum. Findings also demonstrated associations between DTI indices and neuropsychological outcome across two time points. Our results provide new evidence for the use of DTI as an imaging biomarker and indicator of WM damage occurring in the context of mTBI, and they underscore the dynamic nature of brain injury and possible biological basis of chronic neurocognitive alterations.


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