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Front Syst Neurosci. 2016 Aug 9;10:55. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2016.00055. eCollection 2016.

Systems Biology, Neuroimaging, Neuropsychology, Neuroconnectivity and Traumatic Brain Injury.

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Department of Psychology, Neuroscience Center, Brigham Young University Provo, UT, USA.


The patient who sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI) typically undergoes neuroimaging studies, usually in the form of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In most cases the neuroimaging findings are clinically assessed with descriptive statements that provide qualitative information about the presence/absence of visually identifiable abnormalities; though little if any of the potential information in a scan is analyzed in any quantitative manner, except in research settings. Fortunately, major advances have been made, especially during the last decade, in regards to image quantification techniques, especially those that involve automated image analysis methods. This review argues that a systems biology approach to understanding quantitative neuroimaging findings in TBI provides an appropriate framework for better utilizing the information derived from quantitative neuroimaging and its relation with neuropsychological outcome. Different image analysis methods are reviewed in an attempt to integrate quantitative neuroimaging methods with neuropsychological outcome measures and to illustrate how different neuroimaging techniques tap different aspects of TBI-related neuropathology. Likewise, how different neuropathologies may relate to neuropsychological outcome is explored by examining how damage influences brain connectivity and neural networks. Emphasis is placed on the dynamic changes that occur following TBI and how best to capture those pathologies via different neuroimaging methods. However, traditional clinical neuropsychological techniques are not well suited for interpretation based on contemporary and advanced neuroimaging methods and network analyses. Significant improvements need to be made in the cognitive and behavioral assessment of the brain injured individual to better interface with advances in neuroimaging-based network analyses. By viewing both neuroimaging and neuropsychological processes within a systems biology perspective could represent a significant advancement for the field.


computed tomography (CT); connectivity; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); neuroimaging; neuropsychology; quantitative image analysis; systems biology; traumatic brain injury (TBI)

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