Accelerated age-related cortical thinning in mild traumatic brain injury.
INTRODUCTION: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) can result in many structural abnormalities in the cerebral cortex. While thinning of the cortex has been shown in mTBI patients, there is high regional variability in reported findings. High-resolution imaging can elucidate otherwise unnoticed changes in cortical measures following injury. This study examined age-related patterns of cortical thickness in U.S. active duty service members and veterans with a history of mTBI (n = 66) as compared to a normative population (n = 67).
METHODS: Using a fully automated cortical parcellation methodology, cortical thickness measures were extracted from 31 bilateral cortical regions for all participants.
RESULTS: The effect of diagnosis and age on cortical thickness (group × age interaction) was found to be significant (p < 0.05) for many regions, including bilateral parietal and left frontal and temporal cortices. Findings held for a male-only subset, and there was no effect of time since injury in any regions.
CONCLUSIONS: The presence of mTBI appeared to accelerate age-related cortical thinning across the cortex in our study population.