BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Principal component analysis, a data-reduction algorithm, generates a set of principal components that are independent, linear combinations of the original dataset. Our study sought to use principal component analysis of fractional anisotropy maps to identify white matter injury patterns that correlate with posttraumatic headache after mild traumatic brain injury. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Diffusion tensor imaging and neurocognitive testing with the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test were performed in 40 patients with mild traumatic brain injury and 24 without posttraumatic headache. Principal component analysis of coregistered fractional anisotropy maps was performed. Regression analysis of the major principal components was used to identify those correlated with posttraumatic headache. Finally, each principal component that correlated with posttraumatic headache was screened against other postconcussive symptoms and demographic factors. RESULTS: Principal component 4 (mean, 7.1±10.3) correlated with the presence of posttraumatic headache in mild traumatic brain injury (odds ratio per SD, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.29-4.67; P=.01). Decreasing principal component 4 corresponded with decreased fractional anisotropy in the midsplenium and increased fractional anisotropy in the genu of the corpus callosum. Principal component 4 identified patients with posttraumatic headache with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.73 and uniquely correlated with posttraumatic headache and no other postconcussive symptom or demographic factors. CONCLUSIONS: Principal component analysis can be an effective data-mining method to identify white matter injury patterns on DTI that correlate with clinically relevant symptoms in mild traumatic brain injury. A pattern of reduced fractional anisotropy in the splenium and increased fractional anisotropy in the genu of the corpus callosum identified by principal component analysis can help identify patients at risk for posttraumatic headache after mild traumatic brain injury.
Ghodadra, A., Alhilali, L., & Fakhran, S. (2016). Principal component analysis of diffusion tensor images to determine white matter injury patterns underlying postconcussive headache. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 37(2), 274–278. https://doi.org/10.3174/ajnr.A4505