In a clinical article published April 2013, doctors from the University of California, San Francisco published findings in the Journal of Neurosurgery demonstrating a new application of magnetoencephalography in predicting long-term brain damage in patients who sustained head trauma. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is an existing brain imaging technique that produces maps of the brain’s neural activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electric currents between the neurons in the brain.
The group lead by Dr. Pratik Mukherjee measured functional connectivity from 14 male and 7 female patients who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Eleven patients had mild, one had moderate, and 3 had severe forms of TBI. The hypothesis of the study was that there is decreased functional connectivity as measured by MEG in patients with TBI compared with age- and sex-matched controls, and that this decrease would occur even in mild cases.
Their results demonstrate abnormally decreased functional connectivity in these TBI patients, including those classified as having mild TBI. Furthermore, abnormal functional connectivity that may persist for years after TBI, and follow-up MEG scans in some patients showed that the abnormally decreased connectivity can improve over time. Resting state MEG deserves further investigation as a prognostic and predictive biomarker for TBI.