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Functional MRI

Because concussion is believed to represent a functional neural perturbance rather than a structural one, use of structural neuroimaging modalities, such as MRI and CT, is normal in cases of concussion. Functional MRI examines the metabolic/physiological state of the brain and, thus, has been proposed as an empirical means to assess and monitor concussion.

Functional MRI provides task-specific information about neural function, and it detects defects in neural function during cognitive load. Using this technique, specific neural signatures of concussion have been demonstrated in selected individuals by comparing postconcussion results with the preconcussion baseline. In the future, this tool may allow mapping of neural injury patterns to quantify injury load and more accurately direct return-to-play guidelines.

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