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Front Hum Neurosci. 2016 Feb 10;10:35. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00035. eCollection 2016.

Chronic Post-Concussion Neurocognitive Deficits. I. Relationship with White Matter Integrity.

Author information

1
Brain Trauma Foundation New York, NY USA.
2
Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA USA.
3
Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical College New York, NY USA.
4
Brain Trauma FoundationNew York, NY USA; Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford UniversityStanford, CA USA.

Abstract

We previously identified visual tracking deficits and associated degradation of integrity in specific white matter tracts as characteristics of concussion. We re-explored these characteristics in adult patients with persistent post-concussive symptoms using independent new data acquired during 2009-2012. Thirty-two patients and 126 normal controls underwent cognitive assessments and MR-DTI. After data collection, a subset of control subjects was selected to be individually paired with patients based on gender and age. We identified patients' cognitive deficits through pairwise comparisons between patients and matched control subjects. Within the remaining 94 normal subjects, we identified white matter tracts whose integrity correlated with metrics that indicated performance degradation in patients. We then tested for reduced integrity in these white matter tracts in patients relative to matched controls. Most patients showed no abnormality in MR images unlike the previous study. Patients' visual tracking was generally normal. Patients' response times in an attention task were slowed, but could not be explained as reduced integrity of white matter tracts relating to normal response timing. In the present patient cohort, we did not observe behavioral or anatomical deficits that we previously identified as characteristic of concussion. The recent cohort likely represented those with milder injury compared to the earlier cohort. The discrepancy may be explained by a change in the patient recruitment pool circa 2007 associated with an increase in public awareness of concussion.

KEYWORDS:

diffusion tensor imaging; eye movement; mild traumatic brain injury; neuroimaging; neuropsychology; post-concussion syndrome

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