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This article is the authors’ final published version in NeuroImage: Clinical, Volume 30, April 2021, Article number 102681.

The published version is available at Copyright © Muller et al.


The detection and association of in vivo biomarkers in white matter (WM) pathology after acute and chronic mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) are needed to improve care and develop therapies. In this study, we used the diffusion MRI method of hybrid diffusion imaging (HYDI)to detect white matter alterations in patients with chronic TBI (cTBI). 40 patients with cTBI presenting symptoms at least three months post injury, and 17 healthy controls underwent magnetic resonance HYDI. cTBI patients were assessed with a battery of neuropsychological tests. A voxel-wise statistical analysis within the white matter skeleton was performed to study between group differences in the diffusion models. In addition, a partial correlation analysis controlling for age, sex, and time after injury was performed within the cTBI cohort, to test for associations between diffusion metrics and clinical outcomes. The advanced diffusion modeling technique of neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI) showed large clusters of between-group differences resulting in lower values in the cTBI across the brain, where the single compartment diffusion tensor model failed to show any significant results. However, the diffusion tensor model appeared to be just as sensitive in detecting self-reported symptoms in the cTBI population using a within-group correlation. To the best of our knowledge this study provides the first application of HYDI in evaluation of cTBI using combined DTI and NODDI, significantly enhancing our understanding of the effects of concussion on white matter microstructure and emphasizing the utility of full characterization of complex diffusion to diagnose, monitor, and treat brain injury.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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