Brain changes from post-concussion syndrome are visible on MRI, according to a study published online in the journal Radiology.
Conventional neuroimaging cannot show which patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) will go on to develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS), researchers said. “Conventional imaging with CT or MRI is pretty much normal in MTBI patients, even though some go on to develop symptoms, including severe cognitive problems,” study co-author Yulin Ge, MD, said in a press release. Dr. Ge is an associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine in New York City.
Researchers recruited 23 patients with MTBI who exhibited signs of post-traumatic symptoms within two months of experiencing a head injury and 18 matched controls. The subjects underwent resting-state functional MRI, which detects changing in baseline oxygen level fluctuations associated with brain functional networks.
The results showed that communication and information integration in the brain were disrupted among key default mode network (DNM) structures following minor head injuries. The brain tapped into different neural resources to compensate for impaired function.
“We found decreased functional connectivity in the posterior network of the brain and increased connectivity in the anterior component, probably due to the functional compensation in patients with PCS,” said Ge. “The reduced posterior connectivity correlated positively with neurocognitive dysfunction.”
The authors noted that more study is required in the hope that they can develop a biomarker to monitor disease progression and recovery, as well as effects of treatment.