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Serial Diffusion Kurtosis Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study during Acute, Subacute, and Recovery Periods after Sport-Related Concussion. J Neurotrauma 2020 Oct 01;37(19):2081-2092

Date

04/08/2020

Pubmed ID

32253977

DOI

10.1089/neu.2020.6993

Abstract

Sport-related concussion (SRC) is common in contact sports, but there remains a lack of reliable, unbiased biomarkers of brain injury and recovery. Although the symptoms of SRC generally resolve over a period of days to weeks, the lack of a biomarker impairs detection and return-to-play decisions. To this date, the pathophysiological recovery profile and relationships between brain changes and symptoms remained unclear. In the current study, diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) was used to monitor the effects of SRC on the brain and the trajectory of recovery in concussed American football players (n = 96) at <48 h, and 8, 15, and 45 days post-injury, who were compared with a matched group of uninjured players (n = 82). The concussed group reported significantly higher symptoms within 48 h after injury than controls, which resolved by the 8-day follow-up. The concussed group also demonstrated poorer performance on balance testing at <48 h and 8 days than controls. There were no significant differences between the groups in the Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC), a cognitive screening measure. DKI data were acquired with 3 mm isotropic resolution, and analyzed using tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS). Additionally, voxel- and region of interest-based analyses were also conducted. At <48 h, the concussed group showed significantly higher axial kurtosis than the control group. These differences increased in extent and magnitude at 8 days, then receded at 15 days, and returned to the normal levels by 45 days. Kurtosis fractional anisotropy (FA) exhibited a delayed response, with a consistent increase by days 15 and 45. The results indicate that changes detected in the acute period appear to be prolonged compared with clinical recovery, but additional brain changes not observable acutely appear to progress. Although further studies are needed to understand the pathological features of DKI changes after SRC, these findings highlight a potential disparity between clinical symptoms and pathophysiological recovery after SRC.

Author List

Muftuler LT, Meier TB, Keith M, Budde MD, Huber DL, McCrea MA

Authors

Matthew Budde PhD Associate Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Michael McCrea PhD Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Timothy B. Meier PhD Associate Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Lutfi Tugan Muftuler PhD Associate Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin




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