Time-dependent differences in cortical measures and their associations with behavioral measures following mild traumatic brain injury

Sahil Bajaj, Natalie S. Dailey, Isabelle M. Rosso, Scott L. Rauch, William D.S. Killgore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


There is currently a critical need to establish an improved understanding of time-dependent differences in brain structure following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). We compared differences in brain structure, specifically cortical thickness (CT), cortical volume (CV), and cortical surface area (CSA) in 54 individuals who sustained a recent mTBI and 33 healthy controls (HCs). Individuals with mTBI were split into three groups, depending on their time since injury. By comparing structural measures between mTBI and HC groups, differences in CT reflected cortical thickening within several areas following 0–3 (time-point, TP1) and 3–6 months (TP2) post-mTBI. Compared with the HC group, the mTBI group at TP2 showed lower CSA within several areas. Compared with the mTBI group at TP2, the mTBI group during the most chronic stage (TP3: 6–18 months post-mTBI) showed significantly higher CSA in several areas. All the above reported differences in CT and CSA were significant at a cluster-forming p <.01 (corrected for multiple comparisons). We also found that in the mTBI group at TP2, CT within two clusters (i.e., the left rostral middle frontal gyrus (L. RMFG) and the right postcentral gyrus (R. PostCG)) was negatively correlated with basic attention abilities (L. RMFG: r = −.41, p =.05 and R. PostCG: r = −.44, p =.03). Our findings suggest that alterations in CT and associated neuropsychological assessments may be more prominent during the early stages of mTBI. However, alterations in CSA may reflect compensatory structural recovery during the chronic stages of mTBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1886-1897
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • concussion
  • cortical plasticity
  • cortical structure
  • cortical surface area
  • cortical thickness
  • cortical volume
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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