Correlation of neuropsychologic findings with changes in brain MR diffusion tensor imaging in patients with diffuse axonal injuries

Project No. FF-FR 0125


completed 07/2008


In diffus axonal traumatic brain injury there is a damage of myelinated axons in the white matter of the brain. This results in a decrease of anisotropic diffusion in the white matter.

This decrease of anisotropic diffusion can be measured in diffusion tensor imaging. The aim of the current study was to measure if there is a correlation between neuropsychological deficits after traumatic brain injury and changes of the fractional anisotropy in the white matter of the brain.


Included in the study were 30 - 40 patients in the chronical stadium 6 - 18 months after isolated diffus axonal brain injury. We performed a MRI scan with T1, T2 and FLAIR sequences. Additionally diffusion tensor imaging was done. The neuropsychological performance was tested with several standard neuropsychological tests. In parametric analysis we investigated if there is a correlation between the neuropsychological testing and changes of the fractional anisotropy.


In this study it has been possible to identify voxelwise correlations between fractional anisotropy (FA) and neurocognitive functions in patients after traumatic brain injury. These correlations were found in brain regions associated with the particular neuropsychological domain. In the left inferior longitudinal fascicle were found correlations with all three neuropsychological domains. It was to conclude that traumatic changes in the connection between primary visual areas and temporal association areas have influence on cognitive processing speed and so on a wide range of neurocognitive function. Traumatic changes in the ascending reticular system seem also to be associated with a general deceleration leading to impairment of executive functions and alertness.

Last Update:

17 Jun 2009


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Neurozentrum Uniklinik Freiburg

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:




Description, key words:

traumatic brain injury, axonal