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Central auditory processing disorders after mild traumatic brain injury

Auditory processing disorders are common following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), but the neurocircuitry involved is not well understood. The present study used functional MRI to examine auditory cortex activation patterns during a passive listening task in a normative population and mTBI patients with and without clinical central auditory processing deficits (APD) as defined by the SCAN-3:A clinical battery. Patients with mTBI had overall patterns of lower auditory cortex activation during the listening tasks as compared to normative controls. A significant lateralization pattern (pairwise t-test; p<0.05) was observed in normative controls and in those with mTBI and APD during single-side stimulation. Additionally, baseline connectivity between left and right auditory cortices was lower in mTBI patients than in controls (p=0.01) and significantly reduced in the mTBI with APD group (p=0.008). Correlation was also observed between bilateral task-related activation and competing words subscore of the SCAN-3:A. These findings suggest the passive listening task is well suited to probe auditory function in military personnel with an mTBI diagnosis. Further, the study supports the use of multiple approaches for detecting and assessing central auditory deficits to improve monitoring of short- and long-term outcomes.

DOI: 10.22462/13.15.2019.5

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