Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a significant cause of disability, especially when symptoms become chronic. This chronicity is often linked to oculomotor dysfunction (OMD). To our knowledge, this is the first prospective study to localize aberrations in brain function between mTBI cohorts, by comparing patients with mTBI with OMD with an mTBI control group without OMD, using task and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Ten subjects with mTBI who had OMD (OMD group) were compared with nine subjects with mTBI who had no findings of OMD (control group). These groups were determined by a developmental optometrist using objective testing for OMD. The (convergence) task fMRI data demonstrated significantly decreased brain activity, measured as decreases in the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal, in the OMD group compared with the control group in three brain regions: The left posterior lingual gyrus, the bilateral anterior lingual gyrus and cuneus, and the parahippocampal gyrus. When doing a seed-based resting state fMRI analysis in the lingual/parahippocampal region, a large cluster covering the left middle frontal gyrus and the dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex (Brodmann areas 9 and 10), with decreased functional correlation in the OMD group, was identified. Together these observations provide evidence for neural networks of interactions involving the control of eye movement for visual processing, reading comprehension, spatial localization and navigation, and spatial working memory that appear to be decreased in mTBI patients with OMD compared with mTBI patients without OMD. The clinical symptomatology associated with post-traumatic OMD correlates well with these MRI findings.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Minnesota Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Annual Research Grant Program: Neuroimaging and Neurorehabilitation of Oculomotor Dysfunction in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Grant Contract No. 105001 as well as the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation. It was also partly supported by NIH grants P41 EB015894 and P30 NS076408.
- functional magnetic resonance imaging
- oculomotor dysfunction
- post-traumatic visual dysfunction
- traumatic brain injury