SHORT COMMUNICATION: Diffuse Changes in Cortical Thickness in Pediatric Moderate-to-Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602, USA.
Journal of Neurotrauma (Impact Factor: 3.71). 12/2008; 25(11):1343-5. DOI: 10.1089/neu.2008.0615
Source: PubMed


Generalized whole brain volume loss has been well documented in moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), as has diffuse cerebral atrophy based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) volumetric methods where white matter may be more selectively affected than gray matter. However, specific regional differences in gray matter thickness of the cortical mantle have not been previously examined. As such, cortical thickness was assessed using FreeSurfer software to identify regions of significant gray matter cortical thinning in MRI scans of 16 young TBI subjects (age range, 9-16 years) compared to 16 demographically matched controls. Significant cortical thinning was observed globally in the TBI group compared to the cohort of typically developing children. Reduced cortical thickness was related to reported deficits in working memory. TBI-induced cortical thickness reductions are probably due to a combination of focal and diffuse effects and have implications for the neurobehavioral sequelae of TBI.

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    • "This can be interpreted as growth retardation due to the trauma. Indeed, generalized atrophic changes resulting in reduced overall brain volume has been documented in moderate-to-severe pediatric traumatic brain injury [39]–[40]. In addition to this focal effect on brain, a general growth retardation due to post-traumatic endocrine disturbance [41] could be raised here. "
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    • "This is perhaps not surprising, given that the social brain involves a broad array of spatially-remote regions thought to interact as a network (Adolphs, 2001; Johnson et al., 2005). Individual differences in overall brain maturation should involve many of these regions, as should the diffuse atrophy that occurs after more severe TBI (Bigler et al., 2010; Merkley et al., 2008). "
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    • "In addition, differences in cortical thickness measured by MRI correlate with functionally relevant behavioral/cognitive dysfunction in moderate and severe TBI cohorts (McCauley et al. 2010; Merkley et al. 2008; Palacios et al. 2013; Wilde et al. 2012). These findings emphasize the potential of cortical thickness measures to elucidate functionally relevant brain-behavior relationships that could lead to improved treatment in these patients. "
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