Effective Connectivity in the Default Mode Network after Paediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

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Posted on January 31, 2022 by childrenslearninginstitute


January 2022


European Journal of Neuroscience

CLI Authors:

Dana M. DeMaster, PhD, Linda Ewing-Cobbs, PhD, and Kelly A. Vaughn, PhD


Children who experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are at elevated risk for a range of negative cognitive and neuropsychological outcomes. Identifying which children are at greatest risk for negative outcomes can be difficult due to the heterogeneity of TBI. To address this barrier, the current study applied a novel method of characterizing brain connectivity networks, Bayesian Multi-Subject Vector Autoregressive Modeling (BVAR-connect), which used white matter integrity as priors to evaluate effective connectivity – the time-dependent relationship in fMRI activity between two brain regions – within the default mode network (DMN). In a prospective longitudinal study, children ages 8-15 years with mild to severe TBI underwent diffusion tensor imaging and resting state fMRI 7 weeks after injury; post-concussion and anxiety symptoms were assessed 7 months after injury. The goals of this study were to 1) characterize differences in positive effective connectivity of resting-state DMN circuitry between healthy controls and children with TBI, 2) determine if severity of TBI was associated with differences in DMN connectivity, and 3) evaluate whether patterns of DMN effective connectivity predicted persistent post-concussion symptoms and anxiety. Healthy controls had unique positive connectivity that mostly emerged from the inferior temporal lobes. In contrast, children with TBI had unique effective connectivity among orbitofrontal and parietal regions. These positive orbitofrontal-parietal DMN effective connectivity patterns also differed by TBI severity and were associated with persisting behavioral outcomes. Effective connectivity may be a sensitive neuroimaging marker of TBI severity as well as a predictor of chronic post-concussion symptoms and anxiety.


National Science Foundation, Grant/Award Number: NSF/SES 1659925; Nicole and Evan Katz Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Fund; National Institutes of Health, Grant/Award Number: R01 NS046308


Vaughn, K. A.DeMaster, D.Kook, J. H.Vannucci, M., & Ewing-Cobbs, L. (2022). Effective connectivity in the default mode network after paediatric traumatic brain injuryEuropean Journal of Neuroscience551), 318-336. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.15546