Neuroplasticity following non-penetrating traumatic brain injury

Brain Inj. 2003 Aug;17(8):665-74. doi: 10.1080/0269905031000107151.


The primary objective of this review is to examine the methodology and evidence for neuroplasticity operating in recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI), as compared with previous findings in patients sustaining perinatal and infantile focal vascular lesions. The evidence to date indicates that the traditional view of enhanced reorganization of function after early focal brain lesions might apply to early focal brain lesions, but does not conform with studies of early severe diffuse brain injury. In contrast to early focal vascular lesions, young age confers no advantage in the outcome of severe diffuse brain injury. Disruption of myelination could potentially alter connectivity, a suggestion which could be confirmed through diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Initial reports of DTI in TBI patients support the possibility that this technique can demonstrate alterations in white matter connections which are not seen on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and might change over time or with interventions. Preliminary functional MRI studies of TBI patients indicate alterations in the pattern of brain activation, suggesting recruitment of more extensive cortical regions to perform tasks which stress computational resources. Functional MRI, coupled with DTI and possibly other imaging modalities holds the promise of elucidating mechanisms of neuroplasticity and repair following TBI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Head Injuries, Closed / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Language Development Disorders / etiology
  • Language Development Disorders / physiopathology
  • Language Disorders / etiology
  • Language Disorders / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Recovery of Function