For the study, researchers analyzed MRIs of the brains of 180 participants. They included 33 patients who had a mild TBI, or concussion from a fall, 66 who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and 81 healthy control participants who did not have TBI or Alzheimer’s. Researchers also developed more computer-generated models to compare dozens of different brain structures. They charted the differences and similarities between the different groups, too.
Looking at multiple areas of the brain, researchers found reduced cortical thickness — an area that is roughly associated with the age of a brain, and thinning is usually linked to memory loss and other deficits — when compared to the healthy controls. MRIs also showed similarities in brains with TBI and Alzheimer’s disease. Gray matter showed the most similarities in areas involved in decision-making and memory. The white matter showed comparable deterioration patterns in structures responsible for limb movement, memory function and exchanging information between brain hemispheres.