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Evidence for white matter disruption in traumatic brain injury without macroscopic lesions
  1. N Nakayama1,
  2. A Okumura1,
  3. J Shinoda1,
  4. Y-T Yasokawa1,
  5. K Miwa1,
  6. S-I Yoshimura2,
  7. T Iwama2
  1. 1Chubu Medical Center for Prolonged Traumatic Brain Dysfunction, Kizawa Memorial Hospital, Minokamo City, Gifu, Japan
  2. 2Department of Neurosurgery, Gifu University Graduate School of Medicine, Gifu
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Nakayama Noriyuki
 630 Shimokobi, Kobi-machi, Minokamo City, Gifu 505 0034, Japan; doctor.1{at}


Background: Non-missile traumatic brain injury (nmTBI) without macroscopically detectable lesions often results in cognitive impairments that negatively affect daily life.

Aim: To identify abnormal white matter projections in patients with nmTBI with cognitive impairments using diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DTI).

Methods: DTI scans of healthy controls were compared with those of 23 patients with nmTBI who manifested cognitive impairments but no obvious neuroradiological lesions. DTI was comprised of fractional anisotropy analysis, which included voxel-based analysis and confirmatory study using regions of interest (ROI) techniques, and magnetic resonance tractography of the corpus callosum and fornix.

Results: A decline in fractional anisotropy around the genu, stem and splenium of the corpus callosum was shown by voxel-based analysis. Fractional anisotropy values of the genu (0.47), stem (0.48), and splenium of the corpus callosum (0.52), and the column of the fornix (0.51) were lower in patients with nmTBI than in healthy controls (0.58, 0.61, 0.62 and 0.61, respectively) according to the confirmatory study of ROIs. The white matter architecture in the corpus callosum and fornix of patients with nmTBI were seen to be coarser than in the controls in the individual magnetic resonance tractography.

Conclusions: Disruption of the corpus callosum and fornix in patients with nmTBI without macroscopically detectable lesions is shown. DTI is sensitive enough to detect abnormal neural fibres related to cognitive dysfunction after nmTBI.

  • DTI, diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging
  • MMSE, Mini-Mental State Examination
  • nmTBI, non-missile traumatic brain injury, PASAT, Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test
  • ROI, region of interest
  • SPM, statistical parametric mapping
  • WAIS—R, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—Revised
  • WMS—R, Wechsler Memory Scale—Revised

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  • Published Online First 30 March 2006

  • Competing interests: None declared.

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