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Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 Jan 6;8:1028. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.01028. eCollection 2014.

Diffusion tensor imaging and white matter abnormalities in patients with disorders of consciousness.

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Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Center and Neurology Department, University and University Hospital of Liege Liege, Belgium.
IRCCS SDN, Istituto Ricerca Diagnostica Nucleare Naples, Italy.
Neuroradiology Department, National Neurological Institute C. Mondino Pavia, Italy.
Psychology Department, Brain and Mind Institute, University of Western Ontario London ON, Canada.
Physics and Astronomy Department, Brain and Mind Institute, University of Western Ontario London ON, Canada.


Progress in neuroimaging has yielded new powerful tools which, potentially, can be applied to clinical populations, improve the diagnosis of neurological disorders and predict outcome. At present, the diagnosis of consciousness disorders is limited to subjective assessment and objective measurements of behavior, with an emerging role for neuroimaging techniques. In this review we focus on white matter alterations measured using Diffusion Tensor Imaging on patients with consciousness disorders, examining the most common diffusion imaging acquisition protocols and considering the main issues related to diffusion imaging analyses. We conclude by considering some of the remaining challenges to overcome, the existing knowledge gaps and the potential role of neuroimaging in understanding the pathogenesis and clinical features of disorders of consciousness.


brain; coma; consciousness; diffusion tensor imaging; tractography

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