Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56782-2_234-2




One of the major types of traumatic brain injury that results from acceleration-deceleration effects rather than direct impact on the brain. Typically, the injury is the result of high-speed situations such as motor vehicle accidents or violent shaking of the head from side to side. The forceful motion of injury disturbs the delicate underlying white matter tracts of the brain that are responsible for connecting the functional areas controlling motor skills, cognitive skills, language skills, and behavior. Because each neural cell or vessel has a fixed length and is held in position along its path by other cells, there is limited elasticity in any cell or vessel. Thus, acceleration-deceleration forces can disrupt cells and vessels despite an absence of direct trauma to the cell or vessel. Damage may result from stretching, twisting, or rotation. Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is more likely to occur with lateral movements of the brain and least likely to occur with...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Bigler, E. D. (2001). Distinguished Neuropsychologist Award Lecture 1999. The lesion(s) in traumatic brain injury: Implications for clinical neuropsychology. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 16, 95–131.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Gennarelli, T. A., Thibault, L. E., Adams, J. H., Graham, D. I., Thompson, C. J., & Marcincin, R. P. (1982). Diffuse axonal injury and traumatic coma in the primate. Annals of Neurology, 12, 564–574.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Hou, D. J., Tong, K. A., Ashwal, S., Oyoyo, U., Joo, E., Shutter, L., & Obenaus, A. (2007). Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging improves outcome prediction in adult traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 24, 1558–1569.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Kraus, M. F., Susmaras, T., Caughlin, B. P., Walker, C. J., Sweeney, J. A., & Little, D. M. (2007). White matter integrity and cognition in chronic traumatic brain injury: A diffusion-tensor imaging study. Brain, 130, 2508–2519.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Sharp, D. J., Scott, G., & Leech, R. (2014). Network dysfunction after traumatic brain injury. Nature Reviews Neurology, 10(3), 156–166.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Strich, S. J. (1956). Diffuse degeneration of the cerebral white matter in severe dementia following head injury. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 19, 163–185.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Ubukata, S., Ueda, K., Sugihara, G., Yassin, W., Aso, T., Fukuyama, H., & Murai, T. (2016). Corpus callosum pathology as a potential surrogate marker of cognitive impairment in diffuse axonal injury. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 28, 97–103.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychiatry and PsychologyMayo ClinicJacksonvilleUSA