Diffusion tensor imaging detects white matter abnormalities and associated cognitive deficits in chronic adolescent TBI

Developmental Imaging, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute , Parkville, Australia.
Brain Injury (Impact Factor: 1.81). 03/2013; 27(4). DOI: 10.3109/02699052.2012.750756
Source: PubMed


Primary objective: This study examined long-term alterations in white matter microstructure following TBI in adolescence using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). It was hypothesized that white matter integrity would be compromised in adolescents with TBI and would correlate with measures of executive functioning and cognitive abilities. Research design: This study employed whole-brain, voxel-wise, statistical comparison of DTI indices in youth of 12-17 years old (mean = 15.06) with TBI vs an age- and gender-matched cohort (mean age = 15.37). Methods and procedures: This study scanned 17 adolescents with complicated-mild-to-severe TBI, 1-3 years after injury, and 13 healthy adolescents. Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS) was employed for DTI analysis. Main outcomes and results: Overall diffusivity elevations were found in the TBI group with increases in axial diffusivity in the right hemisphere. White matter integrity was associated with word reading, planning and processing times in the TBI group, but not healthy controls. Conclusions: The detected abnormalities in axial diffusivity may reflect neuronal regeneration and cerebral reorganization after injury. These findings provide tentative evidence of persistent white matter alteration following TBI in adolescence. Associations of DTI indices with cognitive performance following TBI provide tentative support for links between white matter integrity and performance post-TBI.

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