Challenges and opportunities for neuroimaging in young patients with traumatic brain injury: a coordinated effort towards advancing discovery from the ENIGMA pediatric moderate/severe TBI group

Brain Imaging Behav. 2021 Apr;15(2):555-575. doi: 10.1007/s11682-020-00363-x.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in children in both developed and developing nations. Children and adolescents suffer from TBI at a higher rate than the general population, and specific developmental issues require a unique context since findings from adult research do not necessarily directly translate to children. Findings in pediatric cohorts tend to lag behind those in adult samples. This may be due, in part, both to the smaller number of investigators engaged in research with this population and may also be related to changes in safety laws and clinical practice that have altered length of hospital stays, treatment, and access to this population. The ENIGMA (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) Pediatric Moderate/Severe TBI (msTBI) group aims to advance research in this area through global collaborative meta-analysis of neuroimaging data. In this paper, we discuss important challenges in pediatric TBI research and opportunities that we believe the ENIGMA Pediatric msTBI group can provide to address them. With the paucity of research studies examining neuroimaging biomarkers in pediatric patients with TBI and the challenges of recruiting large numbers of participants, collaborating to improve statistical power and to address technical challenges like lesions will significantly advance the field. We conclude with recommendations for future research in this field of study.

Keywords: ENIGMA; Moderate-severe TBI; Neuroimaging; Pediatric; traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Neuroimaging


  • Biomarkers