Research Reports - Working memory and corpus callosum microstructural integrity following pediatric traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2013 Apr 30

Treble A, Hasan KM, Iftikhar A, Stuebing K, Kramer LA, Cox CS, Swank PR, Ewing-Cobbs L

Deficits in working memory are a common consequence of pediatric traumatic brain
injury (TBI), and are believed to contribute to difficulties in a range of
cognitive and academic domains. Reduced integrity of the corpus callosum (CC)
following TBI may disrupt connectivity between bilateral frontoparietal neural
networks underlying working memory. In the present investigation, diffusion
tensor imaging (DTI) tractography of eight callosal subregions (CC1-CC8) was
examined in relation to measures of verbal and visuospatial working memory in 74
children sustaining TBI and 49 typically developing (TD) comparison children.
Relative to the comparison group, children with TBI demonstrated poorer
visuospatial working memory, but comparable verbal working memory. Microstructure
of the CC was significantly compromised in brain-injured children, with lower FA
and higher axial and radial diffusivity metrics in all callosal subregions. In
both groups of children, lower FA and/or higher radial diffusivity in callosal
subregions connecting anterior and posterior parietal cortical regions predicted
poorer verbal working memory; higher radial diffusivity in callosal subregions
connecting anterior and posterior parietal, as well as temporal, cortical regions
predicted poorer visuospatial working memory. DTI metrics, especially radial
diffusivity, in predictive callosal subregions accounted for significant variance
in working memory over and above remaining callosal subregions. Reduced
microstructural integrity of the CC, particularly in subregions connecting
parietal and temporal cortices, may act as a neuropathological mechanism
contributing to long-term working memory deficits. The future clinical use of
neuroanatomical biomarkers may allow for the early identification of children at
highest risk for working memory deficits and earlier provision of interventions
for these children.

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