Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gender may contribute to recovery time after concussion

Date:
May 6, 2014
Source:
Radiological Society of North America
Summary:
A study of concussion patients using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) found that males took longer to recover after concussion than females did. Results of the study show that DTI can be used as a bias-free way to predict concussion outcome. Each year, more than 17 million Americans suffer a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), more commonly known as a concussion, of which approximately 15 percent suffer persistent symptoms beyond three months.

Uncinate fasiculus, an important tract with the greatest concentration of progesterone receptors, show greater injury in males than females after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). (a) Axial and (b) coronal images show regions of decreased fractional anisotropy in male patients with mTBI relative to female mTBI patients, involving the uncinate fasiculus (red) bilaterally.
Credit: Image courtesy of Radiological Society of North America

A study of concussion patients using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) found that males took longer to recover after concussion than females did. Results of the study, which show that DTI can be used as a bias-free way to predict concussion outcome, are published online in the journal Radiology.

Each year, more than 17 million Americans suffer a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), more commonly known as a concussion, of which approximately 15 percent suffer persistent symptoms beyond three months.

Assessing outcomes and recovery time after concussion can be very subjective. Typically, physicians must rely on patient cooperation to assess injury severity.

"MRI and CT brain images of concussion patients are often normal," said Saeed Fakhran, M.D., assistant professor of neuroradiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "Diffusion tensor imaging is the first imaging technique that shows abnormalities associated with concussion, because it is able to see white matter tracts at a microscopic level."

DTI is an advanced form of MRI that allows researchers to assess microscopic changes in the brain's white matter. The brain's white matter is composed of millions of nerve fibers called axons that act like communication cables connecting various regions of the brain. DTI produces a measurement, called fractional anisotropy (FA), of the movement of water molecules along axons. In healthy white matter, the direction of water movement is fairly uniform and measures high in FA. When water movement is more random, FA values decrease. Abnormally low FA is associated with cognitive impairment in patients with brain injuries.

The research team examined the medical records and imaging results of 69 patients diagnosed with mTBI between 2006 and 2013, including 47 males and 22 females, and 21 controls consisting of 10 males and 11 females (median age of males: 17; median age of females: 16). Of the 47 males with mTBI, 32 (68 percent) were injured while playing a sport, as were 10 of the 22 females (45 percent).

All patients underwent the same evaluation, including a computerized neurocognitive test and DTI of the brain. The DTI scans of the mTBI patients revealed abnormalities within the uncinate fasciculi (UF), a white matter tract that connects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Although its exact role is controversial, the UF tract is believed to allow temporal lobe-based memory associations to modify behavior though interactions with another area of the brain.

The DTI scans revealed that compared to the female mTBI patients, the male mTBI patients had significantly decreased UF FA values.

"In the future, we would like to look at the issue of gender and concussions more in depth to determine who does better and why," Dr. Fakhran said.

A statistical analysis of the data revealed that UF FA value was a stronger predictor of recovery time than initial symptom severity based on neurocognitive testing. The most substantial risk factor for a recovery time longer than three months was decreased UF FA. Male gender also directly correlated with increased recovery time.

"The potential of DTI and UF FA to predict outcome after concussion has great clinical impact," Dr. Fakhran said. "Currently, we are heavily reliant on patient reporting, and patients may have ulterior motives, such as wanting to get back to play. But you can't trick an MR scanner."

The average time to symptom recovery for all concussion patients was 54 days. However, compared to the female patients who recovered in an average of 26.3 days, recovery was significantly longer for the male patients (an average of 66.9 days), irrespective of initial symptom severity.

"Male gender and UF FA values are independent risk factors for persistent post-concussion symptoms after three months and stronger predictors of time to recovery than initial symptom severity or neurocognitive test results," Dr. Fakhran said.

He said results of the study indicate a potential role for UF FA values in triaging concussion patients in the future.

"There's prognostic value in DTI for both children participating in sports as well as for professional athletes," he said. "Lower FA values in the uncinate fasciculi could offer a metric for evaluating the severity of mild traumatic brain injuries and predicting clinical outcome. We're not at the point where DTI can provide individual prognoses yet, but that's the hope and goal."

The study's abstract can be found online at: http://pubs.rsna.org/doi/abs/10.1148/radiol.14132512


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Radiological Society of North America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Saeed Fakhran , MD, Karl Yaeger , MD, Michael Collins , PhD, Lea Alhilali , MD. Sex Differences in White Matter Abnormalities after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Localization and Correlation with Outcome. Radiology, May 2014

Cite This Page:

Radiological Society of North America. "Gender may contribute to recovery time after concussion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140506074727.htm>.
Radiological Society of North America. (2014, May 6). Gender may contribute to recovery time after concussion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140506074727.htm
Radiological Society of North America. "Gender may contribute to recovery time after concussion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140506074727.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins