Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Is Diffusion Imaging Ready for Primetime in Forensic Medicine?

Top Magn Reson Imaging. 2010 Dec;21(6):379-86. doi: 10.1097/RMR.0b013e31823e65b8.


Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is difficult to accurately assess with conventional imaging because such approaches usually fail to detect any evidence of brain damage. Recent studies of MTBI patients using diffusion-weighted imaging and diffusion tensor imaging suggest that these techniques have the potential to help grade tissue damage severity, track its development, and provide prognostic markers for clinical outcome. Although these results are promising and indicate that the forensic diagnosis of MTBI might eventually benefit from the use of diffusion-weighted imaging and diffusion tensor imaging, healthy skepticism and caution should be exercised with regard to interpreting their meaning because there is no consensus about which methods of data analysis to use and very few investigations have been conducted, of which most have been small in sample size and examined patients at only one time point after injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Forensic Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Sensitivity and Specificity