Research Reports - Functional MRI of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)

Brain Imaging Behav. 2012 Jun;6(2):193-207

McDonald BC, Saykin AJ, McAllister TW

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) represents the great majority of traumatic
brain injuries, and is a common medical problem affecting cognitive and
vocational functioning as well as quality of life in some individuals. Functional
MRI (fMRI) is an important research method for investigating the neuroanatomic
substrates of cognitive disorders and their treatment. Surprisingly, however,
relatively little research has utilized fMRI to examine alterations in brain
functioning after mTBI. This article provides a critical overview of the
published fMRI research on mTBI to date. These topics include examination of
frontal lobe/executive functions such as working memory, as well as episodic
memory and resting state/functional connectivity. mTBI has also been investigated
in military populations where studies have focused on effects of blast injury and
comorbid conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive
disorder. Finally, we address fMRI evaluations of response to behavioral or
pharmacological challenges and interventions targeting cognitive and behavioral
sequelae of mTBI. The review concludes with identification and discussion of gaps
in current knowledge and future directions for fMRI studies of mTBI. The authors
conclude that fMRI in combination with related methods can be expected to play an
increasing role in research related to studies of pathophysiological mechanisms
of the sequelae of mTBI as well as in diagnosis and treatment monitoring.

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