Microstructural changes in the thalamus after mild traumatic brain injury: A longitudinal diffusion and mean kurtosis tensor MRI study

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Journal Article
Brain Injury, 2017, 31 (2), pp. 230 - 236
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© 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Primary objective: The primary aim of this study was to assess microstructural changes in the thalamus, hippocampus and corpus callosum with a fast mean kurtosis tensor (MKT) technique, in the acute and sub-acute phase after mTBI. It was hypothesized that MKT would differ between baseline and follow-up in patients. The secondary aim was to relate diffusion measures to symptoms of mTBI. Research design: A longitudinal case-control study. Methods and procedures: Twenty-seven patients with mTBI and 27 age- and gender-matched healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Patients were scanned within 2 weeks and 3 months after mTBI, while the controls were scanned once. Main outcomes and results: MKT decreased significantly (p = 0.02) from baseline to follow-up in the thalamus in patients. Compared to healthy subjects, thalamic MKT values were significantly larger in patients at baseline (p = 0.048). Secondary analysis revealed a significant decrease (p = 0.01) in fractional anisotropy in the splenium of corpus callosum from baseline to follow-up. Conclusions: The current study indicates microstructural changes in the thalamus and corpus callosum from within 14 days to 3 months after mTBI and suggests MKT as a potential biomarker after mTBI.
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