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Supplementary Material for: Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Potential to Detect Posttraumatic Neurodegeneration

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posted on 01.07.2020, 10:13 by Eisele A., Hill-Strathy M., Michels L., Rauen K.
Introduction: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the most relevant external risk factor for dementia and a major global health burden. Mild TBI (mTBI) contributes to up to 90% of all TBIs, and the classification “mild” often misrepresents the patient’s burden who suffer from neuropsychiatric long-term sequelae. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) allows in vivo detection of compromised brain metabolism although it is not routinely used after TBI. Objective: Thus, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to elucidate if MRS has the potential to identify changes in brain metabolism in adult patients after a single mTBI with a negative routine brain scan (CCT and/or MRI scan) compared to aged- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC) during the acute or subacute postinjury phase (≤90 days after mTBI). Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted from the first edition of electronic databases until January 31, 2020. Group analyses were performed per metabolite using a random-effects model. Results: Four and 2 out of 5,417 articles met the inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis and systematic review, respectively. For the meta-analysis, 50 mTBI patients and 51 HC with a mean age of 31 and 30 years, respectively, were scanned using N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), a marker for neuronal integrity. Glutamate (Glu), a marker for disturbed brain metabolism, choline (Cho), a marker for increased cell membrane turnover, and creatine (Cr) were used in 2 out of the 4 included articles. Regions of interests were the frontal lobe, the white matter around 1 cm above the lateral ventricles, or the whole brain. NAA was decreased in patients compared to HC with an effect size (ES) of –0.49 (95% CI –1.08 to 0.09), primarily measured in the frontal lobe. Glu was increased in the white matter in 22 mTBI patients compared to 22 HC (ES 0.79; 95% CI 0.17–1.41). Cho was decreased in 31 mTBI patients compared to 31 HC (ES –0.31; 95% CI –0.81 to 0.19). Cr was contradictory and, therefore, potentially not suitable as a reference marker after mTBI. Conclusions: MRS pinpoints changes in posttraumatic brain metabolism that correlate with cognitive dysfunction and, thus, might possibly help to detect mTBI patients at risk for unfavorable outcome or posttraumatic neurodegeneration early.