Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) with increasing prevalence among children and adolescents. Functional connectivity (FC) within and between the default mode network (DMN), central executive network (CEN) and salience network (SN) has been shown to be altered post-concussion. Few studies have investigated connectivity within and between these 3 networks following a pediatric concussion. The present study explored whether within and between-network FC differs between a pediatric concussion and orthopedic injury (OI) group aged 10–18. Participants underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) scan at 4 weeks post-injury. One-way ANCOVA analyses were conducted between groups with the seed-based FC of the 3 networks. A total of 55 concussion and 27 OI participants were included in the analyses. Increased within-network FC of the CEN and decreased between-network FC of the DMN-CEN was found in the concussion group when compared to the OI group. Secondary analyses using spherical SN regions of interest revealed increased within-network FC of the SN and increased between-network FC of the DMN-SN and CEN-SN in the concussion group when compared to the OI group. This study identified differential connectivity patterns following a pediatric concussion as compared to an OI 4 weeks post-injury. These differences indicate potential adaptive brain mechanisms that may provide insight into recovery trajectories and appropriate timing of treatment within the first month following a concussion.
Area of research: Neuroimaging