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J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2013 Jan;74(1):242-7. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3182684fe8.

Detection of white matter lesions in the acute stage of diffuse axonal injury predicts long-term cognitive impairments: a clinical diffusion tensor imaging study.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, No 3 People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.



White matter disruption is known to contribute to neurocognitive deficits after diffuse axonal injury (DAI). This study evaluated the relationship between white matter integrity using diffusion tensor imaging in the early stage and cognitions in the chronic stage.


Diffusion tensor imaging was performed in 15 patients with DAI within 7 days of injury and in 15 patients in the control group. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD) were calculated within regions of interest, including the posterior limb of the internal capsule, uncinate fasciculus (UF), anterior corona radiate (ACR), superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF), genu of the corpus callosum, body of the corpus callosum, and splenium of the corpus callosum and cingulum bundle (CB). The patients with DAI and the patients in the control group also underwent neuropsychological testing during the chronic stage after DAI.


The region-of-interest analysis showed significantly reduced FA and AD values in all nine regions within 7 days of injury as well as increased MD values in the corpus callosum among patients in the DAI group. The patients demonstrated significantly poorer performance on the working memory tests and attention test. In patients, working memory function was positively correlated with the AD value in the UF and with the FA value in the CB, UF, SLF, and ILF. Working memory function was inversely correlated with the RD value in the CB, SLF, and ILF and with the MD value in the SLF and ILF. In addition, the attention function demonstrated a positive correlation with the RD value in the ACR, SLF, and ILF and with the MD value in the ACR, SLF, and ILF. In addition, attention was inversely correlated with the FA values for the posterior limb of the internal capsule, ACR, SLF, and ILF.


The results indicated that the presence of white matter changes during the early stage of DAI may be helpful for predicting cognitive dysfunction over the long term.


Prognostic study, level III.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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