The Default Mode Network as a Biomarker of Persistent Complaints after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Longitudinal Functional MRI Study

Harm J. van der Horn*, Myrthe E. Scheenen, Myrthe E. de Koning, Edith J. Liemburg, Jacoba M. Spikman, Joukje van der Naalt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to examine longitudinal functional connectivity of resting-state networks in patients with and without complaints after uncomplicated mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Second, we aimed to determine the value of network connectivity in predicting persistent complaints, anxiety, depression and long-term outcome. Thirty mTBI patients with three or more post-traumatic complaints at 2 weeks post-injury, 19 without complaints, and 20 matched healthy controls were selected for this study. Resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) was performed in patients at 1 month and 3 months post-injury, and once in healthy controls. Independent component analysis (ICA) was used to investigate the default mode, executive and salience networks. Persistent post-traumatic complaints, anxiety, and depression were measured at 3 months post-injury, and outcome was determined at 1 year post-injury. Within the group with complaints, higher functional connectivity between the anterior and posterior components of the default mode network at 1 month post-injury was associated with a greater number of complaints at 3 months post-injury (p=0.59, p=0.001). Minor longitudinal changes in functional connectivity were found for patients with and without complaints after mTBI, which were limited to connectivity within the precuneus component of the default mode network. No significant results were found for the executive and salience networks. Current results suggest that the default mode network may serve as a biomarker of persistent complaints in patients with uncomplicated mTBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3262-3269
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number23
Early online date7-Sep-2017
Publication statusPublished - 1-Dec-2017


  • brain networks
  • fMRI
  • functional connectivity
  • mTBI
  • persistent complaints
  • FMRI

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