Ibai Diez, David Drijkoningen, Sebastiano Stragmalia, Paolo Bonifazi, Daniele Marinazzo, Jolien Gooijers, Stephan P. Swinnen, Jesus M. Cortes. Enhanced pre-frontal functional-structural networks to support postural control deficits after traumatic brain injury in a pediatric population. Network Neuroscience 1: 116-142, 2017. Preprint at [pdf]
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects the structural connectivity, triggering the re-organization of structural-functional circuits in a manner that remains poorly understood. We focus here on brain networks re-organization in relation to postural control deficits after TBI. We enrolled young participants who had suffered moderate to severe TBI, comparing them to young typically developing control participants. In comparison to control participants, TBI patients (but not controls) recruited prefrontal regions to interact with two separated networks: 1) a subcortical network including part of the motor network, basal ganglia, cerebellum, hippocampus, amygdala, posterior cingulum and precuneus; and 2) a task-positive network, involving regions of the dorsal attention system together with the dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal regions. We also found the increased prefrontal connectivity in TBI patients was correlated with some postural control indices, such as the amount of body sway, whereby patients with worse balance increased connectivity in frontal regions more strongly. The increased prefrontal connectivity found in TBI patients may provide the structural scaffold for stronger cognitive control of certain behavioural functions, consistent with the observation that various motor tasks are performed less automatically following TBI and that more cognitive control is associated with such actions.