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Mismatch negativity abnormality in traumatic brain injury without macroscopic lesions on conventional MRI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-444
Number of pages5
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2013
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes damage through complex pathophysiological mechanisms. Deficits related to traumatic axonal injury persist in a subset of patients with no macroscopic lesions on conventional MRI. We examined two event-related brain potentials, mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a, to identify possible electrophysiological anomalies in this subset of TBI patients in comparison with TBI patients with focal abnormalities on MRI/computed tomography and healthy controls. Each group consisted of 10 individuals. A passive oddball paradigm, in which the individuals were instructed to ignore auditory stimuli while watching a silent movie, consisted of non-native speech sounds presented in a random order. Patients with no discernible lesions on conventional MRI showed a significantly augmented amplitude of the brain's involuntary change-detection response MMN, relative to that of the two other groups. In patients with focal neuroradiological abnormalities, this MMN anomaly was not found, whereas the subsequent orientation-related P3a response was significantly enlarged when compared with that of the controls. The present findings demonstrate that MMN is indicative of a functional abnormality in the mechanisms of involuntary attention in chronic TBI patients with normal conventional MRI findings, indexing their increased distractibility associated with the traumatically-induced loss of neural integrity.

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Distractibility, Involuntary attention, Mismatch negativity, MRI, P3a, Traumatic axonal injury, Traumatic brain injury