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Disrupted Thalamic MRI Patterns in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Resting-state MRI patterns show increased thalamic resting-state networks, reduced symmetry

THURSDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), resting-state magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) patterns are disrupted, with significantly increased thalamic resting-state networks (RSNs) and reduced symmetry, according to a study published online July 20 in Radiology.

Lin Tang, Ph.D., from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues examined the neural correlates of the thalamus, and assessed whether thalamic RSNs are disrupted in patients with MTBI. Resting-state functional MRI data of 24 patients with mean disease duration of 22 days and varying degree of symptoms, and 17 healthy control individuals were analyzed using a standard seed-based whole-brain correlation method to characterize thalamic RSNs. Spearman rank correlation was used to assess the relationship between thalamic RSNs and performance on neuropsychological and neurobehavioral measures in patients.

The investigators found that healthy subjects had a normal pattern of thalamic RSNs, characterized as relatively symmetrical and restrictive functional thalamocortical connectivity. However, compared to healthy individuals, in patients with MTBI the pattern was disrupted, with significantly increased thalamic RSNs and reduced symmetry. Increased functional thalamocortical redistributive connectivity was correlated with decreased neurocognitive functions and clinical symptoms in patients with MTBI.

"Resting-state functional MRI can be used as an additional imaging modality for detection of thalamocortical connectivity abnormalities and for better understanding of the complex persistent postconcussive syndrome," the authors write.

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