(HealthDay News) – Patients with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) have white matter abnormalities that are similar to those in early Alzheimer’s dementia, with abnormalities correlating with post-concussion symptoms, according to a study published online June 18 in Radiology.

Saeed Fakhran, MD, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues retrospectively evaluated diffusion-tensor images from 64 consecutive patients with mild TBI who underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Measures of white matter integrity were used to generate fractional anisotropy (FA) maps.

The researchers found that total concussion symptom scores ranged from 2–97, and that 34 of the patients had sleep and wake disturbances. High total concussion symptom score correlated significantly with reduced FA at the gray matter-white matter junction, particularly in the auditory cortex. In patients with sleep and wake disturbances vs. those without, there was a significant reduction in FA in the parahippocampal gyri.

“The distribution of white matter abnormalities in patients with symptomatic mild TBI is strikingly similar to the distribution of pathologic abnormalities in patients with early Alzheimer’s dementia, a finding that may help direct research strategies,” the authors write.

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