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White Matter Correlates of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries in Women Subjected to Intimate-Partner Violence: A Preliminary Study

Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Publication Date:
J Neurotrauma
Volume Number:
Issue Number:
J Neurotrauma. 2019 Mar 1;36(5):661-8.
PubMed ID:
corona radiata, diffusion tensor imaging, domestic violence, intimate-partner violence, mild traumatic brain injury
Appears in Collections:
R01 MH102377/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
K24 MH110807/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
I01 RX000928/RX/RRD VA/United States
P41 RR014075/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH112748/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
R21 AT008865/AT/NCCIH NIH HHS/United States
S10 RR023043/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
R01 AG042512/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH111917/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
P41 EB015902/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
P41 EB015896/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
S10 RR023401/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Valera E.M., Cao A., Pasternak O., Shenton M.E., Kubicki M., Makris N., Adra N. White Matter Correlates of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries in Women Subjected to Intimate-Partner Violence: A Preliminary Study. J Neurotrauma. 2019 Mar 1;36(5):661-8. PMID: 29873292. PMCID: PMC6387564.
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A large proportion (range of 44-75%) of women who experience intimate-partner violence (IPV) have been shown to sustain repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) from their abusers. Further, despite requests for research on TBI-related health outcomes, there are currently only a handful of studies addressing this issue and only one prior imaging study that has investigated the neural correlates of IPV-related TBIs. In response, we examined specific regions of white matter microstructure in 20 women with histories of IPV. Subjects were imaged on a 3-Tesla Siemens Magnetom TrioTim scanner using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging. We investigated the association between a score reflecting number and recency of IPV-related mTBIs and fractional anisotropy (FA) in the posterior and superior corona radiata as well as the posterior thalamic radiation, brain regions shown previously to be involved in mTBI. We also investigated the association between several cognitive measures, namely learning, memory, and cognitive flexibility, and FA in the white matter regions of interest. We report a negative correlation between the brain injury score and FA in regions of the posterior and superior corona radiata. We failed to find an association between our cognitive measures and FA in these regions, but the interpretation of these results remains inconclusive due to possible power issues. Overall, these data build upon the small but growing literature demonstrating potential consequences of mTBIs for women experiencing IPV, and further underscore the urgent need for larger and more comprehensive studies in this area.