A meta-analysis by Hedman et al. allows for accurate estimation of brain volume changes throughout the life span. Additionally, Tate et al. showed that intracranial volume at a later point in life can be used to estimate reliably brain volume at an earlier point in life. These advancements were combined to create a model which allowed the estimation of brain volume just prior to injury in a group of patients with mild or moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI). This volume estimation model was used in combination with actual measurements of brain volume to test hypotheses about progressive brain volume changes in patients. Using the normal control data, the volume estimation model was tested by comparing measured brain volume to estimated brain volume. Reliability ranged from good to excellent. During the first few months after injury, patients with mild or moderate TBI have rapid atrophy of whole brain parenchyma and cerebral white matter, and rapid enlargement of subcortical nuclei + infratentorial regions. The magnitude and pattern of the changes in volume may allow for the eventual development of diagnostic tools based on the volume estimation approach.
Ross, DE, AL Ochs, MD Zannoni and JM Seabaugh (2014). "Back to the Future: Estimating Pre-Injury Brain Volume in Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury." NeuroImage 102:565-578. To view an abstract of this paper, click here.