Navigation Links
Imaging shows structural changes in mild traumatic brain injury
Date:10/25/2007

Researchers report that diffusion tensor imaging can identify structural changes in the white matter of the brain that correlates to cognitive deficits even in patients with mild traumatic brain injury.

The study is published in the October issue of the journal Brain.

"We studied patients with all severities of traumatic brain injury -- mild to severe -- and found that abnormalities in white matter existed on the spectrum," said Dr. Marilyn Kraus, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and lead author of the study. "Even in patients with mild TBI -- those identified as having minimal or no loss of consciousness -- there were structural deficits."

Diffusion tensor imaging uses magnetic resonance imaging technology to examine the integrity of white matter that is especially vulnerable to traumatic brain injury. This imaging modality allows researchers to quantify and qualify structural changes in white matter, particularly in chronic TBI patients.

Thirty-seven TBI patients (20 mild and 17 moderate to severe) and 18 healthy volunteers underwent diffusion tensor imaging and neuropsychological testing to evaluate memory, attention, and executive function. All subjects were at least six months post-injury, and the majority were high-functioning people who were employed or in school at the time of evaluation.

The researchers found that structural changes in the white matter correlate to observable cognitive deficits related to thinking, memory and attention. Patients with more severe injuries had greater white matter abnormalities, representing a permanent change in the brain.

"We know that discreet brain areas are important for specific types of functioning, such as thinking, memory, cognition and motor skills," said Kraus. "But what's also very important is that the white matter serves as the connection between these significant areas of the brain."

In some ways, the brain is similar to a computer, said Deborah Little, director of MRI research in the department of neurology and rehabilitation medicine at UIC and co-author of the study. "You have the CPU and the memory, but they are worthless unless they are connected to each other. The white matter of the brain has the same function as the cables of the computer."

When white matter is damaged, areas of the brain may appear healthy but they are actually "unplugged" and cannot function.

"This study validates that getting smacked in the head is not a good thing, despite the fact that some clinicians still believe a patient can recover fully after a concussion," said Little.

A significant percentage of patients in the study had no self-reported cognitive deficits, yet they did have permanent damage that was apparent to researchers.

TBI has been a long-standing public health problem and a significant source of disability, but the recent increase in veterans returning from war and athletes who have experienced multiple concussions has generated greater public attention to TBI.

"Very often in TBI there are forces being applied to the brain that stress the tracts of white matter -- pulling them, yanking them -- and the white matter becomes damaged," Kraus said.

Patients who have a contusion, or bruising of the brain, can also suffer from subtle and diffuse damage to the white matter. The researchers believe that not only the focal lesion but the damage to the white matter is very important.

In the study, the researchers were also able to determine axonal damage (tearing of the axons that allow one neuron to communicate with another) in white matter versus abnormalities in the myelin (the protective sheath that, if damaged, can disrupt signals between the brain and other parts of the body.) If an axon is severed, the damage generally cannot be repaired.

"We found that the milder injuries had less myelin damage, and the more severe injuries had both axonal and myelin damage," said Kraus.

"This research helps us to understand how early on, particularly in milder injuries, there may be some ability for myelin to repair," Little said. "When athletes, for example, are sustaining head injuries over and over -- without being told to sit out -- it may have a huge impact on their recovery. This could affect decisions clinicians make about when someone with a mild injury should return to the battlefield or playing field."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sherri McGinnis Gonzlez
smcginn@uic.edu
312-996-8277
University of Illinois at Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. New Computerized Imaging Systems Help In Better Dental Treatment Planning
2. Micro-camera provides new breast imaging technique
3. New imaging technique for tracking Alzheimers
4. Imaging Modality That Might Help Diagnose Depression
5. Being Obese Increases Ones Risk Of A wrong Diagnosis During Medical Imaging
6. T-waves to sweep over imaging technology
7. Optical Imaging Added To Ultrasound To Improve Imaging Of Breast Cancer
8. Using Eyes As The Line Of Reference For Fetal Brain Imaging
9. Three In One Ultrasound Probe For 3-D Imaging Of Heart And Tissue Destruction Developed
10. Magnetic Resonance Imaging Can Now Be Used For Mind Reading
11. New Cardiac Angiography Technique For Improved Imaging Of Coronary Veins
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/28/2016)... ... 28, 2016 , ... May 26, 2016- In search of the K. Warriors, ... event of “K Warriors” on June 4, 2016 at Ashbury Hotel and Suites 600 ... sponsored and hosted by Shaolin Institute and sanctioned by KSF (Kungfu Sanda Federation), This ...
(Date:5/28/2016)... , ... May 28, 2016 , ... In a part of the city where’s it’s ... new farm-to-table Kelowna restaurants is hoping to attract diners with a taste for ... Suites officially opened the doors to Cornerstone Grill, an urban casual restaurant focusing on ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Southland Log Homes , designer ... timber frame barn kits, which can be found on its website at SouthlandLogHomes.com. , ... barn plans, and they highlight the craftsmanship of timber post and beam construction. ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... W.S. Badger Co. ... today that it has been recognized as one of the best small businesses for ... named as one of nine small businesses providing progressive benefits to new parents on ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... With over 60 percent ... the demand for a sustainable product to aid in the rehabilitation process has steadily ... the recovery of individuals with hemiplegia due to stroke. , Ekso Bionics has now ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... SPRINGS, Florida , May 25, 2016 ... Business Conference & Expo earlier this month, the numbers ... As revenues continue to climb into the billions, more ... the newly released 4th Edition State of Legal Marijuana ... Frontier, a cannabis-focused data-analysis firm, much of the increase ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , May 25, 2016 Digital Health ... to it by the US Patent and Trademark ... technology includes proprietary processes for electronic opt-­in and ... and wellness programs, HIPAA compliance and otherwise. ... "Our technology allows for ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , May 25, 2016 ... the precision of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) analysis ... the appointment of Professor Clive Morris ... leadership across the clinical development programme, scientific collaborations, ... help deliver significant improvements in clinical outcomes for ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: