Damage from concussion alters the way information is transmitted between the two halves of the brain, according to a new study. Research has shown that the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibers that carries signals between the brain’s left and right hemispheres, is vulnerable to damage from mild traumatic brain injury, commonly known as concussion. Less is known about the impact of this damage on cognitive function. To learn more, researchers compared the condition of the corpus callosum in 36 patients with recent concussion to that of 27 healthy controls. They studied the participants’ brains with two innovative advances, including an MRI technique that uses measures of water diffusion to provide a microscopic view of the brain’s signal-carrying white matter.
Performance on the test correlated with brain findings on MRI. In the healthy controls, reaction time corresponded with several diffusion measures in the splenium, an area of the corpus callosum located between the right visual cortex and the left language center. No such correlation was found in the concussion patients, suggesting microstructural changes relating to injury.