Our previous research on traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients has shown a strong relationship between specific white matter (WM) diffusion properties and motor deficits. The potential impact of TBI-related changes in network organization of the associated WM structural network on motor performance, however, remains largely unknown. Here, we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) based fiber tractography to reconstruct the human brain WM networks of 12 TBI and 17 control participants, followed by a graph theoretical analysis. A force platform was used to measure changes in body posture under conditions of compromised proprioceptive and/or visual feedback. Findings revealed that compared with controls, TBI patients showed higher betweenness centrality and normalized path length, and lower values of local efficiency, implying altered network organization. These results were notmerely a consequence of differences in number of connections. In particular, TBI patients displayed reduced structural connectivity in frontal, parieto-premotor, visual, subcortical, and temporal areas. In addition, the decreased connectivity degree was significantly associated with poorer balance performance. We conclude that analyzing the structural brain networks with a graph theoretical approach provides new insights into motor control deficits following brain injury. © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Caeyenberghs, K., Leemans, A., De Decker, C., Heitger, M., Drijkoningen, D., Vander Linden, C., … Swinnen, S. P. (2012). Brain connectivity and postural control in young traumatic brain injury patients: A diffusion MRI based network analysis. NeuroImage: Clinical, 1(1), 106–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2012.09.011