Neuroimaging biomarkers of a history of concussion observed in asymptomatic young athletes

Catherine A. Orr, Matthew D. Albaugh, Richard Watts, Hugh Garavan, Trevor Andrews, Joshua Nickerson, Jay Gonyea, Scott Hipko, Cole Zweber, Katherine Logan, James J. Hudziak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Participation in contact sports places athletes at elevated risk for repeated head injuries and is associated with negative mental health outcomes later in life. The current study identified changes observable on neuroimaging that persisted beyond the apparent resolution of acute symptoms of concussion. Sixteen young adult ice hockey players with a remote history of concussion but no subjective complaints were compared against 13 of their teammates with no history of concussion. Participants completed a detailed phenotypic assessment and a neuroimaging battery including diffusion kurtosis imaging and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Athletes with a history of concussion performed no differently from those without on phenotypic assessment, but showed significantly elevated fractional anisotropy (FA) in the left genu and anterior corona radiata relative to those without. Post hoc analyses revealed that elevated FA was associated with increased microstructural complexity perpendicular to the primary axon (radial kurtosis). Athletes with concussion history also showed significant differences in the organization of the default mode network (DMN) characterized by stronger temporal coherence in posterior DMN, decreased temporal coherence in anterior DMN, and increased functional connectivity outside the DMN. In the absence of deficits on detailed phenotypic assessment, athletes with a history of concussion displayed changes to the microstructural architecture of the cerebral white matter and to the functional connectivity of the brain at rest. Some of these changes are consistent with those previously associated with persisting deficits and complaints, but we also report novel, complementary changes that possibly represent compensatory mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-810
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Volume33
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cognitive function
  • head trauma, MRI
  • neuroplasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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    Orr, C. A., Albaugh, M. D., Watts, R., Garavan, H., Andrews, T., Nickerson, J., Gonyea, J., Hipko, S., Zweber, C., Logan, K., & Hudziak, J. J. (2016). Neuroimaging biomarkers of a history of concussion observed in asymptomatic young athletes. Journal of Neurotrauma, 33(9), 803-810. https://doi.org/10.1089/neu.2014.3721