THURSDAY, Oct. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Individuals with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) have regional brain atrophy, especially in the ventral diencephalon, putamen, and pallidum, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Somayeh Meysami, M.D., from the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a review of medical records from patients with cognitive decline to characterize regional brain loss in persons with TBI. Data were included for 40 patients with documented TBI histories and brain magnetic resonance imaging scans after TBI with volumetric quantification. To determine the extent of atrophy, brain volumes were compared to a normative database. The authors examined correlations between these regions and global tests of cognition (Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE] in 17 patients, Montreal Cognitive Assessment [MoCA] in 27 patients, both in 14 patients).

The researchers identified volume loss in multiple regions in TBI patients, particularly in the ventral diencephalon, putamen, and pallidum; the magnitude of atrophy was smaller in the temporal lobes and brain stem. The strongest correlations between atrophy and lower scores on the MMSE and the MoCA were seen for lobar structures. The least atrophic region as a function of TBI history was the hippocampus, even though it correlated with tests of cognitive function.

“This work may form the basis for future studies that not only utilize these regions for improved accuracy of TBI-related brain damage but may also serve as biomarkers for treatment response for cognitive rehabilitation programs,” the authors write.

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