Longitudinal examination of the relationship between changes in white matter organization and cognitive outcome in chronic TBI

Kathy S. Chiou, Tony Jiang, Nancy Chiaravalloti, Matthew J. Hoptman, John DeLuca, Helen Genova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: Changes in cerebral white matter organization have been documented in acute phases of recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, little is known about reorganization processes in more chronic stages of recovery. The current study identified changes in white matter organization in chronic cases of TBI, and determined the relationship between structural changes and cognitive functioning. Methods: 15 adults with moderate to severe TBI and eight healthy controls completed neuropsychological testing and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scanning. Participants returned 3 years from the initial session to complete identical neuropsychological tests and scans. Results: Adults with TBI were found to have significantly reduced fractional anisotropy (FA), a metric of white matter organization, compared to healthy participants at baseline and also at 3-year follow-up. Within the sample of adults with TBI, increases in FA were observed over time. Importantly, increases in FA in the TBI sample were also correlated with improvements in cognitive performance. Conclusions: This study provides evidence of a dynamic process of white matter change occurring beyond the initial phases of recovery after moderate to severe TBI. The observed relationship between structural reorganization and changes in cognitive performance has implications for rehabilitation potential in more chronic phases of recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-853
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 7 2019


  • Longitudinal studies
  • diffusion tensor imaging
  • traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Longitudinal examination of the relationship between changes in white matter organization and cognitive outcome in chronic TBI'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this