Diffusion tensor imaging biomarkers for traumatic axonal injury: Analysis of three analytic methods

Carlos D. Marquez De La Plata, Fanpei Gloria Yang, Jun Yi Wang, Kamini Krishnan, Khamid Bakhadirov, Christopher Paliotta, Sina Aslan, Michael D. Devous, Carol Moore, Caryn Harper, Roderick McColl, C. Munro Cullum, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Traumatic axonal injury (TAI) is a common mechanism of traumatic brain injury not readily identified using conventional neuroimaging modalities. Novel imaging modalities such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can detect microstructural compromise in white matter (WM) in various clinical populations including TAI. DTI-derived data can be analyzed using global methods (i.e., WM histogram or voxel-based approaches) or a regional approach (i.e., tractography). While each of these methods produce qualitatively comparable results, it is not clear which is most useful in clinical research and ultimately in clinical practice. This study compared three methods of analyzing DTI-derived data with regard to detection of WM injury and their association with clinical outcomes. Thirty patients with TAI and 19 demographically similar normal controls were scanned using a 3 Tesla magnet. Patients were scanned approximately eight months postinjury, and underwent an outcomes assessment at that time. Histogram analysis of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity showed global WM integrity differences between patients and controls. Voxel-based and tractography analyses showed significant decreases in FA within centroaxial structures involved in TAI. All three techniques were associated with functional and cognitive outcomes. DTI measures of microstructural integrity appear robust, as the three analysis techniques studied showed adequate utility for detecting WM injury. (JINS, 2011, 17, 24-35)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-35
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Cognitive outcomes
  • DTI
  • Memory
  • TAI
  • Tractography
  • Traumatic Brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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