Physiogenic Versus Psychogenic: More Sensitive Scanning In Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Pet Scan of Brain

Mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion, sometimes results in a lasting set of symptoms known as postconcussive syndrome (PCS). PCS is controversial because there is usually no physiogenic-of a physical, physiological, or neurological origin-evidence of damage using the traditional CT or MRI scan. Clinicians must rely on patient reports of PCS symptoms such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, or headaches. As a result, these symptoms are often considered to be psychogenic-of a psychological rather than a neurological origin.

However, the CT and MRI scans are quickly becoming ancient technology. As new, more sensitive technologies, such as diffusion tensor imaging, become more widely available, once hidden physical damage will be revealed and the symptoms of PCS will likely be acknowledged as physiological. The controversies of PCS and the idea that its symptoms are of a psychological origin may become as ancient as the old technologies that currently hide them.

Shenton ME, Hamoda HM, Schneiderman JS, et al. A review of magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging findings in mild traumatic brain injury. Brain Imaging and Behavior. (June 2012)