Send to

Choose Destination
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2015 Feb;49:8-18. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.11.016. Epub 2014 Nov 28.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging of mild traumatic brain injury.

Author information

The Mind Research Network/Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA; Department of Neurology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA; Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA. Electronic address:
The Laureate Institute for Brain Research, Tulsa, OK 74136, USA; Faculty of Community Medicine, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104, USA. Electronic address:
The Mind Research Network/Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA. Electronic address:


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) offers great promise for elucidating the neuropathology associated with a single or repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The current review discusses the physiological underpinnings of the blood-oxygen level dependent response and how trauma affects the signal. Methodological challenges associated with fMRI data analyses are considered next, followed by a review of current mTBI findings. The majority of evoked studies have examined working memory and attentional functioning, with results suggesting a complex relationship between cognitive load/attentional demand and neuronal activation. Researchers have more recently investigated how brain trauma affects functional connectivity, and the benefits/drawbacks of evoked and functional connectivity studies are also discussed. The review concludes by discussing the major clinical challenges associated with fMRI studies of brain-injured patients, including patient heterogeneity and variations in scan-time post-injury. We conclude that the fMRI signal represents a complex filter through which researchers can measure the physiological correlates of concussive symptoms, an important goal for the burgeoning field of mTBI research.


Concussion; Evoked activation; Functional connectivity; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Mild traumatic brain injury

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center