Research Reports - Connectivity abnormalities in mild traumatic brain injury

Brain Imaging Behav. 2012 Jun;6(2):293-318

Stevens MC, Lovejoy D, Kim J, Oakes H, Kureshi I, Witt ST

Several reports show that traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in abnormalities
in the coordinated activation among brain regions. Because most previous studies
examined moderate/severe TBI, the extensiveness of functional connectivity
abnormalities and their relationship to postconcussive complaints or white matter
microstructural damage are unclear in mild TBI. This study characterized
widespread injury effects on multiple integrated neural networks typically
observed during a task-unconstrained "resting state" in mild TBI patients. Whole
brain functional connectivity for twelve separate networks was identified using
independent component analysis (ICA) of fMRI data collected from thirty mild TBI
patients mostly free of macroscopic intracerebral injury and thirty
demographically-matched healthy control participants. Voxelwise group comparisons
found abnormal mild TBI functional connectivity in every brain network identified
by ICA, including visual processing, motor, limbic, and numerous circuits
believed to underlie executive cognition. Abnormalities not only included
functional connectivity deficits, but also enhancements possibly reflecting
compensatory neural processes. Postconcussive symptom severity was linked to
abnormal regional connectivity within nearly every brain network identified,
particularly anterior cingulate. A recently developed multivariate technique that
identifies links between whole brain profiles of functional and anatomical
connectivity identified several novel mild TBI abnormalities, and represents a
potentially important new tool in the study of the complex neurobiological
sequelae of TBI.

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