Diffusion tensor imaging analysis of frontal lobes in pediatric traumatic brain injury

J Child Neurol. 2010 Aug;25(8):976-84. doi: 10.1177/0883073809356034. Epub 2010 Mar 23.


This study examined the use of diffusion tensor imaging in detecting white matter changes in the frontal lobes following pediatric traumatic brain injury. A total of 46 children (ages 8-16 years) with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury and 47 children with orthopedic injury underwent 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 3 months postinjury. Conventional MRI studies were obtained along with diffusion tensor imaging. Diffusion tensor imaging metrics, including fractional anisotropy, apparent diffusion coefficient, and radial diffusivity, were compared between the groups. Significant group differences were identified, implicating frontal white matter alterations in the injury group that were predictive of later Glasgow Outcome Scale ratings; however, focal lesions were not related to the Glasgow Outcome Scale ratings. Injury severity was also significantly associated with diffusion tensor imaging metrics. Diffusion tensor imaging holds great promise as an index of white matter integrity in traumatic brain injury and as a potential biomarker reflective of outcome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anisotropy
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Diffusion
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / injuries*
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Glasgow Outcome Scale / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies


  • Biomarkers