Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), or concussion, accounts for 75 percent of all TBI and represents an important public health problem. Difficulty in working memory is frequently reported in patients after concussion. Now new research suggests that older individuals may have a more difficult time recovering from concussion. However, neuropsychological tests, computed tomography (CT) and conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) generally fail to reveal abnormal findings in these patients. Functional MRI (fMRI) has been increasingly used in assessing patients with MTBI.

According to a new study published online in the journal Radiology,  Dr. Chen and colleagues,  from the Department of Radiology at Shuang-Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, in New Taipei City, Taiwan, used fMRI to evaluate the effect of age on working memory performance and functional activation in the brain after MTBI

In comparing the patients in initial and follow-up study, the young patients had significantly reduced post-concussion symptom score at follow-up than at the time of the initial exam, but no significant change of the post-concussion symptom score was observed in the older patients.

The researchers hope that these findings might eventually lead to the development of separate management strategies for different age groups following concussion.

For further reading please refer to Chi-Jen Chen, Chih-Hsiung Wu, Yen-Peng Liao, Hui-Ling Hsu, Ying-Chi Tseng, Ho-Ling Liu, Wen-Ta Chiu. Working Memory in Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Functional MR Imaging Analysis. Radiology, 2012; 264 (3): 844 DOI: 10.1148/radiol.12112154