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Diverging volumetric trajectories following pediatric traumatic brain injury.

  • Author(s): Dennis, Emily L
  • Faskowitz, Joshua
  • Rashid, Faisal
  • Babikian, Talin
  • Mink, Richard
  • Babbitt, Christopher
  • Johnson, Jeffrey
  • Giza, Christopher C
  • Jahanshad, Neda
  • Thompson, Paul M
  • Asarnow, Robert F
  • et al.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant public health concern, and can be especially disruptive in children, derailing on-going neuronal maturation in periods critical for cognitive development. There is considerable heterogeneity in post-injury outcomes, only partially explained by injury severity. Understanding the time course of recovery, and what factors may delay or promote recovery, will aid clinicians in decision-making and provide avenues for future mechanism-based therapeutics. We examined regional changes in brain volume in a pediatric/adolescent moderate-severe TBI (msTBI) cohort, assessed at two time points. Children were first assessed 2-5 months post-injury, and again 12 months later. We used tensor-based morphometry (TBM) to localize longitudinal volume expansion and reduction. We studied 21 msTBI patients (5 F, 8-18 years old) and 26 well-matched healthy control children, also assessed twice over the same interval. In a prior paper, we identified a subgroup of msTBI patients, based on interhemispheric transfer time (IHTT), with significant structural disruption of the white matter (WM) at 2-5 months post injury. We investigated how this subgroup (TBI-slow, N = 11) differed in longitudinal regional volume changes from msTBI patients (TBI-normal, N = 10) with normal WM structure and function. The TBI-slow group had longitudinal decreases in brain volume in several WM clusters, including the corpus callosum and hypothalamus, while the TBI-normal group showed increased volume in WM areas. Our results show prolonged atrophy of the WM over the first 18 months post-injury in the TBI-slow group. The TBI-normal group shows a different pattern that could indicate a return to a healthy trajectory.

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