Frontal and temporal structural connectivity is associated with social communication impairment following traumatic brain injury
OBJECTIVES: Although it has been well documented that traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in communication impairment, little work to date has examined the relationship between social communication skills and structural brain integrity in patients with TBI. The aim of the current study was to investigate the association between self- and other-perceived communication problems and white matter integrity in patients with mild to severe TBI.
METHODS: Forty-four individuals (TBI=24) and people with whom they frequently communicate, as well as demographically matched normal healthy comparisons (NC) and their frequent communication partners, were administered, respectively, the La-Trobe Communication Questionnaire Self form (LCQ-SELF) and Other form (LCQ-OTHER). In addition, diffusion tensor imaging data were collected, and fractional anisotropy (FA) measures were extracted for each lobe in both hemispheres.
RESULTS: Within the TBI group, but not within the NC group, participants who were perceived by their close others as having more communication problems had lower FA in the left frontal and temporal lobes (p<.01), but not in other brain regions.
CONCLUSIONS: Frontotemporal white matter microstructural integrity is associated with social communication abilities in adults with TBI. This finding contributes to our understanding of the mechanisms leading to communication impairment following TBI and can inform the development of new neuromodulation therapies as well as diagnostic tools.
Rigon A, Voss MW, Turkstra LS, Mutlu B, Duff MC. Frontal and temporal structural connectivity is associated with social communication impairment following traumatic brain injury. The International Neuropsychological Society. 2016;22(7):705-16.