Diffusion tensor MR imaging reveals persistent white matter alteration after traumatic brain injury experienced during early childhood

W. Yuan, S. K. Holland, V. J. Schmithorst, N. C. Walz, K. M. Cecil, B. V. Jones, P. Karunanayaka, L. Michaud, Shari L. Wade

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96 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can noninvasively quantify white matter (WM) integrity. Although its application in adult traumatic brain injury (TBI) is common, few studies in children have been reported. The purposes of this study were to examine the alteration of fractional anisotropy (FA) in children with TBI experienced during early childhood and to quantify the association between FA and injury severity. MATERIALS AND METHODS: FA was assessed in 9 children with TBI (age = 7.89 ± 1.00 years; Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] = 10.11 ± 4.68) and a control group of 12 children with orthopedic injuries without central nervous system involvement (age = 7.51 ± 0.95 years). All of the subjects were at minimum 12 months after injury. We examined group differences in a series of predetermined WM regions of interest with t test analysis. We subsequently conducted a voxel-wise comparison with Spearman partial correlation analysis. Correlations between FA and injury severity were also calculated on a voxel-wise basis. RESULTS: FA values were significantly reduced in the TBI group in genu of corpus callosum (CC), posterior limb of internal capsule (PLIC), superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), superior fronto-occipital fasciculus (SFO), and centrum semiovale (CS). GCS scores were positively correlated with FA in several WM areas including CC, PLIC, SLF, CS, SFO, and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFO). CONCLUSION: This DTI study provides evidence that WM integrity remains abnormal in children with moderate-to-severe TBI experienced during early childhood and that injury severity correlated strongly with FA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1919-1925
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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