Relationships between Subcortical Shape Measures and Subjective Symptom Reporting in US Service Members with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Jacob D. Bolzenius, Benjamin S.C. Wade, Carmen S. Velez, Ann Marie Drennon, Douglas B. Cooper, Jan E. Kennedy, Matthew W. Reid, Amy O. Bowles, Paul M. Thompson, Boris Gutman, Jeffrey D. Lewis, John L. Ritter, Gerald E. York, Erin D. Bigler, David F. Tate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess interactions of subcortical structure with subjective symptom reporting associated with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), using advanced shape analysis derived from volumetric MRI. Participants: Seventy-six cognitively symptomatic individuals with mTBI and 59 service members sustaining only orthopedic injury. Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study. Main Measures: Self-report symptom measures included the PTSD Checklist-Military, Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory, and Symptom Checklist-90-Revised. High-dimensional measures of shape characteristics were generated from volumetric MRI for 7 subcortical structures in addition to standard volume measures. Results: Several significant interactions between group status and symptom measures were observed across the various shape measures. These interactions were revealed in the right thalamus and globus pallidus for each of the shape measures, indicating differences in structure thickness and expansion/contraction for these regions. No relationships with volume were observed. Conclusion: Results provide evidence for the sensitivity of shape measures in differentiating symptomatic mTBI individuals from controls, while volumetric measures did not exhibit this same sensitivity. Disruptions to thalamic nuclei identified here highlight the role of the thalamus in the spectrum of symptoms associated with mTBI. Additional work is needed to prospectively, and longitudinally, assess these measures along with cognitive performance and advanced multimodal imaging methods to extend the utility of shape analysis in relation to functional outcomes in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • mTBI
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • mild traumatic brain injury
  • military
  • service members
  • shape analyses
  • subcortical structures
  • volumetric measures


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