Diagnostics & Imaging Program

The Diagnostics and Imaging Program will characterize each patient's injury to optimize diagnosis and inform the plan of treatment from among the available options. Advanced neuroimaging techniques will go beyond standard imaging parameters to interpret injuries from novel combinations of structural measures, metabolic parameters, and indicators of circuitry function and dysfunction. Although the emphasis is on military traumatic brain injury (TBI), civilian patients affected by neurotrauma will also be evaluated by the CNRM, which will help physicians understand the relationships across the full spectrum of brain injuries. The projects use state-of-the-art imaging technologies, often in combination. The Program and CNRM are also developing novel advanced neuroimaging capabilities to support the research projects.

Diagnostics and Imaging Program's Primary Goals:

  • Characterization of the specific disease processes (blast and non-blast TBI, cognition, psychological health, sleep disorders, behavioral changes, etc.)
  • Monitoring of the natural history of these pathoanatomic and functional changes over time in untreated patients
  • Observation of the effects of therapy on the pathoanatomic and functional lesions
  • Development of models for detailed in vivo and in vitro study
  • Trials of putative diagnostic tools
  • Trials of potential therapeutic regimens

Critical Issues for the Diagnostics and Imaging Program:

  • Currently available technologies cannot identify who is affected with mild brain injury sufficiently to allow diagnosis and monitoring of injuries which may initially result in few or only subtle symptoms but which may lead to more significant manifestations over time.
  • Neuroimaging technologies may provide opportunities to develop better diagnostic tools for the spectrum of injury.
  • TBI associated with blast exposures have multiple potential mechanisms of injury that have not yet been characterized neuropathologically so that neuroimaging must be developed to facilitate the interpretation of the underlying pathology.
  • The heterogeneity of pathophysiology associated with TBI and the potential co-morbity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) creates challenges for differentiating and diagnosing the structural, metabolic, and functional changes in a given patient.

Research Projects

To meet the goals of the CNRM, projects were developed within three overarching themes:

  • Research to better understand the pathophysiology of TBI and PTSD in wounded warriors.
  • Clinical research to relate neuroimaging abnormalities to disease symptomatology and TBI prognosis.
  • Development of new neuroimaging technologies to provide a better assessment of structural and functional brain abnormalities in TBI.

Diagnostics and Imaging Program Research Projects and Pilots

Download project and pilots abstracts

Principal Investigator
Peter Basser
In Vivo AxCaliber MRI

Leonardo Cohen
Neuroplasticity in control of executive function after TBI

Connie Duncan
Predicting Outcome After Mild TBI: Brain Indices of Structure and Function

Masahiro Fujita
PET Imaging of Neuroinflammation in TBI

Amir Gandjbakhche
Field Deployable Near Infra-Red Imaging/EEG Multi-Modality system

Lawrence Latour
Natural History TBI Civilian Recruitment & Early Imaging

Carlo Pierpaoli
Radial Diffusion-weighted MRI Acquisitions for Diffusion Tensor Imaging of TBI

Michael Roy
Independent Predictors of PTSD and Post Concussive Syndrome In OIF/OEF Veterans

Peter Basser
Clinical Double Pulsed Field Gradient (dPFG) MRI for Mild TBI Assessment

Xiaoyuan Chen
Imaging NSC neuronal differentiation and therapeutic effect in TBI

Robert Innis
PET Imaging of Tau Aggregates

Victor Pike
Development of PET Radioligands for Imaging Tau Aggregates

Reed Selwyn
Diffusion Basis Spectrum Imaging of Traumatic Axonal Injury in Mild TBI

Benjamin Xu
Mild blast-induced TBI and rapid response inhibition

Mark Ettenhoffer
Assessment and Rehabilitation of TBI with Virtual Reality Driving Simulation

Lawrence Latour
Imaging neuroinflammation and brain phospholipid metabolism during acute TBI with radiolabeled arachidonic acid and PET, before and after administration of docosahexanoic acid (DHA)
Kimberley Byrnes
The impact of repetitive mild TBI based on a closed head injury model and serial FDG-microPET

Dima Hammoud
Imaging the GABAergic system in PTSD using 11C-flumazenil PET

Reed Selwyn
Characterization of the CCI rat model of TBI based on serial monitoring of metabolic changes by microPET

Dzung Pham
Brain Deformation Estimation in Humans using MRI

Carlo Pierpaoli
Enhanced Software Tools for Analysis of Diffusion MRI in TBI and PTSD