Traumatic Brain Injury Severity in a Network Perspective: A Diffusion MRI Based Connectome Study

Reut Raizman, Ido Tavor, Anat Biegon, Sagi Harnof, Chen Hoffmann, Galia Tsarfaty, Eyal Fruchter, Lucian Tatsa-Laur, Mark Weiser, Abigail Livny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often characterized by alterations in brain connectivity. We explored connectivity alterations from a network perspective, using graph theory, and examined whether injury severity affected structural connectivity and modulated the association between brain connectivity and cognitive deficits post-TBI. We performed diffusion imaging network analysis on chronic TBI patients, with different injury severities and healthy subjects. From both global and local perspectives, we found an effect of injury severity on network strength. In addition, regions which were considered as hubs differed between groups. Further exploration of graph measures in the determined hub regions showed that efficiency of six regions differed between groups. An association between reduced efficiency in the precuneus and nonverbal abstract reasoning deficits (calculated using actual pre-injury scores) was found in the controls but was lost in TBI patients. Our results suggest that disconnection of network hubs led to a less efficient network, which in turn may have contributed to the cognitive impairments manifested in TBI patients. We conclude that injury severity modulates the disruption of network organization, reflecting a “dose response” relationship and emphasize the role of efficiency as an important diagnostic tool to detect subtle brain injury specifically in mild TBI patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9121
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

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