Article

Traumatic brain injury: a review and high-field MRI findings in 100 unarmed combatants using a literature-based checklist approach.

Nevada Imaging Centers, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Journal of neurotrauma (Impact Factor: 3.97). 04/2009; 26(5):689-701. DOI: 10.1089/neu.2008.0636
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study reviewed the literature for the extent of neuroimaging findings in boxers, indicative of traumatic brain injury (TBI) as identified in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The study then utilized a systematic checklist approach to assess 100 unselected consecutive 1.5- and 3.0-Tesla MRI examinations of professional unarmed combatants to determine the extent of identifiable TBI findings. The percentage of positive findings and the localization of lesions were quantified using the checklist that included the MRI findings previously reported in the medical literature. Seventy-six percent of the unarmed combatants had at least one finding that may be associated with TBI: 59% hippocampal atrophy, 43% cavum septum pellucidum, 32% dilated perivascular spaces, 29% diffuse axonal injury, 24% cerebral atrophy, 19% increased lateral ventricular size, 14% pituitary gland atrophy, 5% arachnoid cysts, and 2% had contusions. Statistical relationships were found between number of bouts and lateral ventricular size (tau-b = 0.149, p = 0.0489), with years of fighting correlating with the presence of dilated perivascular spaces (tau-b = 0.167, p = 0.0388) and diffuse axonal injury (tau-b = 0.287, p = 0.0013) findings. The improved resolution and increased signal-to-noise ratio on 1.5- and 3.0-Tesla high-field MRI systems defines the range of pathological variations that may occur in professional unarmed combatants. Additionally, the use of a systematic checklist approach insures evaluation for all possible TBI-related abnormalities. This knowledge can be used to anticipate the regions of potential brain pathology for radiologists and emergency medicine physicians, and provides important information for evaluating unarmed combatants relative to their safety and long-term neurocognitive outcome.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a recently revived term used to describe a neurodegenerative process that occurs as a long term complication of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Corsellis provided one of the classic descriptions of CTE in boxers under the name “dementia pugilistica” (DP). Much recent attention has been drawn to the apparent association of CTE with contact sports (football, soccer, hockey) and with frequent battlefield exposure to blast waves generated by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Recently, a promising serum biomarker has been identified by measurement of serum levels of the neuronal microtubule associated protein tau. New positron emission tomography (PET) ligands (e.g., [18 F] T807) that identify brain tauopathy have been successfully deployed for the in vitro and in vivo detection of presumptive tauopathy in the brains of subjects with clinically probable CTE. Methods Major academic and lay publications on DP/CTE were reviewed beginning with the 1928 paper describing the initial use of the term CTE by Martland. Results The major current concepts in the neurological, psychiatric, neuropsychological, neuroimaging, and body fluid biomarker science of DP/CTE have been summarized. Newer achievements, such as serum tau and [18 F] T807 tauopathy imaging, are also introduced and their significance has been explained. Conclusion Recent advances in the science of DP/CTE hold promise for elucidating a long sought accurate determination of the true prevalence of CTE. This information holds potentially important public health implications for estimating the risk of contact sports in inflicting permanent and/or progressive brain damage on children, adolescents, and adults.
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