Abstract: The goal of this study was to investigate patterns of axonal injury in the first week after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). We performed a prospective cohort study of 20 patients presenting to the emergency department with mTBI, using 3.0T diffusion tensor MRI immediately after injury and again at 1 week post-injury. Corresponding data were acquired from 16 controls over a similar time interval. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and other diffusion measures were calculated from 11 a priori selected axon tracts at each time-point, and the change across time in each region was quantified for each subject. Clinical outcomes were determined by standardized neurocognitive assessment. We found that mTBI subjects were significantly more likely to have changes in FA in those 11 regions of interest across the one week time period, compared to control subjects whose FA measurements were stable across time. Longitudinal imaging was more sensitive to these subtle changes in white matter integrity than cross-sectional assessments at either of two time points, alone. Analyzing the sources of variance in our control population, we show that this increased sensitivity is likely due to the smaller within-subject variability obtained by longitudinal analysis with each subject as their own control. This is in contrast to the larger between-subject variability obtained by cross-sectional analysis of each individual subject to normalized data from a control group. We also demonstrated that inclusion of all a priori ROIs in an analytic model as opposed to measuring individual ROIs improves detection of white matter changes by overcoming issues of injury heterogeneity. Finally, we employed genetic programming (a bio-inspired computational method for model estimation) to demonstrate that longitudinal changes in FA have utility in predicting the symptomatology of patients with mTBI. We conclude concussive brain injury caused acute, measurable changes in the FA of white matter tracts consistent with evolving axonal injury and/or edema, which may contribute to post-concussive symptoms.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).