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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;83(9):870-6. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2012-302742. Epub 2012 Jul 14.

Diffusion tensor imaging studies of mild traumatic brain injury: a meta-analysis.

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Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, The University of Tokyo Hospital, Bunkyou, Tokyo, Japan.



To assess the possibility that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can detect white matter damage in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) patients via systematic review and meta-analysis.


DTI studies that compared mTBI patients and controls were searched using MEDLINE, Web of Science, and EMBASE, (1980 through April 2012).


A comprehensive literature search identified 28 DTI studies, of which 13 independent DTI studies of mTBI patients were eligible for the meta-analysis. Random effect model demonstrated significant fractional anisotropy (FA) reduction in the corpus callosum (CC) (p=0.023, 95% CIs -0.466 to -0.035, 280 mTBIs and 244 controls) with no publication bias and minimum heterogeneity, and a significant increase in mean diffusivity (MD) (p=0.015, 95% CIs 0.062 to 0.581, 154 mTBIs and 100 controls). Meta-analyses of the subregions of the CC demonstrated in the splenium FA was significantly reduced (p=0.025, 95% CIs -0.689 to -0.046) and MD was significantly increased (p=0.013, 95% CIs 0.113 to 0.950). FA was marginally reduced in the midbody (p=0.099, 95% CIs -0.404 to 0.034), and no significant change in FA (p=0.421, 95% CIs -0.537 to 0.224) and MD (p=0.264, 95% CIs -0.120 to 0.438) in the genu of the CC.


Our meta-analysis revealed the posterior part of the CC was more vulnerable to mTBI compared with the anterior part, and suggested the potential utility of DTI to detect white matter damage in the CC of mTBI patients.

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