The aim of this study was to investigate patterns of cortical atrophy associated with mild cognitive impairment in a large sample of nondemented Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, and its relation with specific neuropsychological deficits. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological assessment were performed in a sample of 90 nondemented PD patients and 32 healthy controls. All underwent a neuropsychological battery including tests that assess different cognitive domains: attention and working memory, executive functions, memory, language, and visuoperceptual-visuospatial functions. Patients were classified according to their cognitive status as PD patients without mild cognitive impairment (MCI; n?=?43) and PD patients with MCI (n?=?47). Freesurfer software was used to obtain maps of cortical thickness for group comparisons and correlation with neuropsychological performance. Patients with MCI showed regional cortical thinning in parietotemporal regions, increased global atrophy (global cortical thinning, total gray matter volume reduction, and ventricular enlargement), as well as significant cognitive impairment in memory, executive, and visuospatial and visuoperceptual domains. Correlation analyses showed that all neuropsychological tests were associated with cortical thinning in parietotemporal regions and to a lesser extent in frontal regions. These results provide neuroanatomic support to the concept of MCI classified according to Movement Disorders Society criteria. The posterior pattern of atrophy in temporoparietal regions could be a structural neuroimaging marker of cognitive impairment in nondemented PD patients. All of the neuropsychological tests reflected regional brain atrophy, but no specific patterns were seen corresponding to impairment in distinct cognitive domains.
Graph-theoretical analyses of functional networks obtained with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have recently proven to be a useful approach for the study of the substrates underlying cognitive deficits in different diseases. We used this technique to investigate whether cognitive deficits in Parkinson's disease (PD) are associated with changes in global and local network measures. Thirty-six healthy controls (HC) and 66 PD patients matched for age, sex, and education were classified as having mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or not based on performance in the three mainly affected cognitive domains in PD: attention/executive, visuospatial/visuoperceptual (VS/VP), and declarative memory. Resting-state fMRI and graph theory analyses were used to evaluate network measures. We have found that patients with MCI had connectivity reductions predominantly affecting long-range connections as well as increased local interconnectedness manifested as higher measures of clustering, small-worldness, and modularity. The latter measures also tended to correlate negatively with cognitive performance in VS/VP and memory functions. Hub structure was also reorganized: normal hubs displayed reduced centrality and degree in MCI PD patients. Our study indicates that the topological properties of brain networks are changed in PD patients with cognitive deficits. Our findings provide novel data regarding the functional substrate of cognitive impairment in PD, which may prove to have value as a prognostic marker.
In non-demented older persons, smell dysfunction, measured premortem, has been associated with postmortem brain degeneration similar to that of Alzheimers disease. We hypothesized that distinct measures of gray and white matter integrity evaluated through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques could detect degenerative changes associated with age-related olfactory dysfunction. High-resolution T1-weighted images and diffusion-tensor images (DTI) of 30 clinically healthy subjects aged 51-77 were acquired with a 3-Tesla MRI scanner. Odor identification performance was assessed by means of the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). UPSIT scores correlated with right amygdalar volume and bilateral perirhinal and entorhinal cortices gray matter volume. Olfactory performance also correlated with postcentral gyrus cortical thickness and with fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity levels in the splenium of the corpus callosum and the superior longitudinal fasciculi. Our results suggest that age-related olfactory loss is accompanied by diffuse degenerative changes that might correspond to the preclinical stages of neurodegenerative processes.
The aim of this study was to investigate the progression of cortical thinning and gray-matter (GM) volume loss in early Parkinsons disease (PD). MRI and neuropsychological assessment were obtained at baseline and follow-up (mean ± standard deviation = 35.50 ± 1.88 months) in a group of 16 early-PD patients (H & Y stage ?II and disease duration ?5 years) and 15 healthy controls matched for age, gender, and years of education. FreeSurfer software was used for the analysis of cortical thickness as well as for cortical and subcortical volumetric analyses. Voxel-based morphometry analysis was performed using SPM8. Compared to controls, PD patients showed greater regional cortical thinning in bilateral frontotemporal regions as well as greater over-time total GM loss and amygdalar volume reduction. PD patients and controls presented similar over-time changes in cognitive functioning. In early-PD patients, global GM loss, amygdalar atrophy, and cortical thinning in frontotemporal regions are specifically associated with the PD-degenerative process.
In a previous functional MRI (fMRI) study, we found that patients with Parkinsons disease (PD) presented with dysfunctions in the recruitment of recognition memory networks. We aimed to investigate the changes in these networks over time.
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