Resting-state functional MRI (RS-fMRI) has rapidly emerged as a novel informative tool for investigating brain connectivity between regions that are functionally linked. RS-fMRI provides insight into functional activity and communication between brain regions, which play key roles in cognitive performance.
"The disruption of such functional properties is better characterized by RS-fMRI than by conventional diagnostic tools," Dr. Ge said.
Dr. Ge and colleagues used RS-fMRI to study the brain activity of 24 patients with MTBI and 17 healthy control patients. A normal pattern of thalamic RSNs with relatively symmetric and restrictive connectivity was demonstrated in the healthy control group. In the patients with MTBI, this pattern was disrupted, with significantly increased thalamic RSNs and decreased symmetry. These findings correlated with clinical symptoms and diminished neurocognitive functions in the patients with MTBI.
"The thalamic functional networks have multiple functions, including sensory information process and relay, consciousness, cognition, and sleep and wakefulness regulation," Dr. Ge said. "The disruption of thalamic RSNs may result in a burning or aching sensation, accompanied by mood swings and sleep disorders, and can contribute to certain psychotic, affective, obsessive-compulsive, anxiety and impulse control disorders. These symptoms are commonly seen in MTBI patients with post-concussive syndrome."
Because the causes of post-concussive syndrome are poorly understood, there is currently no treatment. But, according to Dr. Ge, the results of this study have implications for a new therapeutic strategy, based on sound understanding of the underlying mechanisms of thalamocortical disruption and post-concussive syndrome.
|Contact: Linda Brooks|
Radiological Society of North America