Assessing connectivity related injury burden in diffuse traumatic brain injury

Berkan Solmaz, Birkan Tunç, Drew Parker, John Whyte, Tessa Hart, Amanda Rabinowitz, Morgan Rohrbach, Junghoon Kim, Ragini Verma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many of the clinical and behavioral manifestations of traumatic brain injury (TBI) are thought to arise from disruption to the structural network of the brain due to diffuse axonal injury (DAI). However, a principled way of summarizing diffuse connectivity alterations to quantify injury burden is lacking. In this study, we developed a connectome injury score, Disruption Index of the Structural Connectome (DISC), which summarizes the cumulative effects of TBI-induced connectivity abnormalities across the entire brain. Forty patients with moderate-to-severe TBI examined at 3 months postinjury and 35 uninjured healthy controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion tensor imaging, and completed behavioral assessment including global clinical outcome measures and neuropsychological tests. TBI patients were selected to maximize the likelihood of DAI in the absence of large focal brain lesions. We found that hub-like regions, with high betweenness centrality, were most likely to be impaired as a result of diffuse TBI. Clustering of participants revealed a subgroup of TBI patients with similar connectivity abnormality profiles who exhibited relatively poor cognitive performance. Among TBI patients, DISC was significantly correlated with post-traumatic amnesia, verbal learning, executive function, and processing speed. Our experiments jointly demonstrated that assessing structural connectivity alterations may be useful in development of patient-oriented diagnostic and prognostic tools. Hum Brain Mapp 38:2913–2922, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2913-2922
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • behavior
  • brain network
  • cognition
  • diffuse axonal injury
  • diffusion
  • structural connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing connectivity related injury burden in diffuse traumatic brain injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this