Although diffuse axonal injury (DAI) usually ellicits cognitive disorders, abnormal brain findings are generally undetected by conventional imaging techniques. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to detect lesions in DAI patients and to investigate the correlation between DAI lesions and cognitive disorders. We examined 16 healthy controls and 11 patients with DAI. Using voxel-based analysis, we found that there were significantly more brain regions with decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) in the brain but DAI patients compared to healthy controls (p<0.001), whereas few lesions were detected via conventional magnetic resonance imaging. There was a significant relationship between the results of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised, Trail Making Test, and some indices of the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised and the decreased FA observed in various areas of the brain (p<0.001). The total cognitive scores on the functional independence and functional assessment measures, which represent behavioral problems, were correlated with the cluster (number of DAI lesions, p=0.007) and voxel numbers (total size of all DAI lesions, p=0.001). In the fiber tractography-based analysis, DAI patients with memory disorders showed an interruption of fibers within the fornix compared to healthy controls. These results indicate that DTI is a useful technique not only for detecting DAI lesions but also for examining cognitive disorders in DAI patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology