Research Reports - Changes in mathematical abilities following paediatric mild traumatic brain injury

Brain Inj. 2015 Oct 19:1-10. [Epub ahead of print]

Van Beek L(1), Vanderauwera J(1,)(2), Ghesquière P(1), Lagae L(3), De Smedt B(1).

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: Paediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been associated
with acute and long-term mathematical difficulties. Little is known about the
recovery of these impairments in children with mild TBI (mTBI) and their
underlying pathophysiology, such as white matter abnormalities.
RESEARCH DESIGN: A prospective longitudinal study followed the recovery of
mathematical abilities and white matter in children with mTBI from the sub-acute
(1 month post-injury) to chronic stage (6-8 months post-injury) of recovery.
METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Twenty children with mTBI and 20 matched controls
completed mathematics tests. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) metrics of white
matter pathways corpus callosum (CC), superior and longitudinal fasciculi were
examined with DTI-tractography.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: Mathematical difficulties and white matter
abnormalities in the CC observed shortly after the injury resolved after 6-8
months of recovery. Children with mTBI continued to show working memory deficits.
Longitudinal DTI data suggest continued maturation of the CC in controls, but
little maturation of the damaged CC in children with mTBI.
CONCLUSIONS: Children with mTBI recovered in terms of mathematical abilities and
white matter. These children continued to show working memory deficits, which
might interfere with learning at school. 

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