Advanced MRI and Concussion: A Critical Evaluation of Its Role in Clinical Practice


  • Tom Schweizer
  • Nathan Churchill
  • David Mikulis
  • Inga Koerte


  • Review the current state of advanced MRI in concussion including its use in large scale international concussion initiatives
  • Evaluate the capabilities and limitations of MRI for informing clinical practice
  • Discuss emerging techniques that may resolve current limitations


Advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods are now widely adopted in research studies of concussion and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), providing critical insights into the biological mechanisms that underlie brain injury and recovery. In recent years, this has raised the question of what role advanced MRI should play in informing clinical management of concussion. Advanced MRI research has largely focused on characterizing brain injury at the group level, but utility at the individual patient level remains largely unknown. Moreover, the rapid pace of research presents a challenge to making an up-to-date, accurate judgement of how advanced MRI has the potential to inform clinical practice. In this symposium, we critically evaluate the current state of knowledge for advanced MRI of concussion, summarizing both the capabilities and limitations. This includes an overview of advanced MRI findings from large-scale international concussion initiatives, as well as a more detailed examination of two widely-used advanced MRI techniques: diffusion weighted imaging and functional MRI. Finally, novel imaging methodology is discussed that may advance MRI protocols even closer to clinical implementation for concussion.

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