Skip Navigation LinksHome > July/August 2010 - Volume 25 - Issue 4 > Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation:
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e3181e52c2a
Article

Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Niogi, Sumit N. PhD; Mukherjee, Pratik MD, PhD

Section Editor(s): Bazarian, Jeffrey J. MD, MPH

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Abstract

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) remains a challenge to accurately assess with conventional neuroimaging. Recent research holds out the promise that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can be used to predict recovery in mTBI patients. Unlike computed tomography or conventional magnetic resonance imaging, DTI is sensitive to microstructural axonal injury, the neuropathology that is thought to be most responsible for the persistent cognitive and behavioral impairments that often occur after mTBI. Through the use of newer DTI analysis techniques such as automated region of interest analysis, tract-based voxel-wise analysis, and quantitative tractography, researchers have shown that frontal and temporal association white matter pathways are most frequently damaged in mTBI and that the microstructural integrity of these tracts correlates with behavioral and cognitive measures. Future longitudinal DTI studies are needed to elucidate how symptoms and the microstructural pathology evolve over time. Moving forward, large-scale investigations will ascertain whether DTI can serve as a predictive imaging biomarker for long-term neurocognitive deficits after mTBI that would be of value for triaging patients to clinical trials of experimental cognitive enhancement therapies and rehabilitation methods, as well as for monitoring their response to these interventions.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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