Diffusion tensor imaging findings and postconcussion symptom reporting six weeks following mild traumatic brain injury

Lange RT, Panenka WJ, Shewchuk JR, Heran MK, Brubacher JR, Bioux S, Eckbo R, Shenton ME, Iverson GL

Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2015 Feb;30(1):7-25

PMID: 25416729


The purpose of this study is to examine the relation between the microstructural architecture of white matter, as measured by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and postconcussion symptom reporting 6-8 weeks following mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Participants were 108 patients prospectively recruited from a Level 1 Trauma Center (Vancouver, BC, Canada) following an orthopedic injury [i.e., 36 trauma controls (TCs)] or MTBI (n = 72). DTI of the whole brain was undertaken using a Phillips 3T scanner at 6-8 weeks postinjury. Participants also completed a 5 h neurocognitive test battery and a brief battery of self-report measures (e.g., depression, anxiety, and postconcussion symptoms). The MTBI sample was divided into two groups based on ICD-10 criteria for postconcussional syndrome (PCS): first, PCS-present (n = 20) and second, PCS-absent (n = 52). There were no significant differences across the three groups (i.e., TC, PCS-present, and PCS-absent) for any of the neurocognitive measures (p = .138-.810). For the self-report measures, the PCS-present group reported significantly more anxiety and depression symptoms compared with the PCS-absent and TC groups (p < .001, d = 1.63-1.89, very large effect sizes). For the DTI measures, there were no significant differences in fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, radial diffusivity, or mean diffusivity when comparing the PCS-present and PCS-absent groups. However, there were significant differences (p < .05) in MD and RD when comparing the PCS-present and TC groups. There were significant differences in white matter between TC subjects and the PCS-present MTBI group, but not the PCS-absent MTBI group. Within the MTBI group, white-matter changes were not a significant predictor of ICD-10 PCS.