Nav: Home

Imaging links structural brain changes and cognitive decline in Parkinson's

December 07, 2016

OAK BROOK, Ill. - People with Parkinson's disease and cognitive impairment have disruptions in their brain networks that can be seen on a type of MRI, according to a study appearing online in the journal Radiology.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system characterized by tremors or trembling and stiffness in the limbs, impaired balance and coordination. It affects about 10 million people worldwide. As PD progresses, many patients develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a decline in cognitive abilities, including thinking, memory and language. MCI can be identified in approximately 25 percent of newly diagnosed PD patients, and patients with MCI progress to dementia more frequently than those with normal cognitive performance.

For the new study, lead investigator Massimo Filippi, M.D., from the Neuroimaging Research Unit at San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy, coauthors Federica Agosta, M.D., Ph.D., and Sebastiano Galantucci, M.D., and other colleagues used an MRI technique called diffusion tractography to look for differences in the neural networks of PD patients with and without MCI.

Increasingly, the human brain is understood as an integrated network, or connectome, that has both a structural and functional component. By applying an analytical tool called graph analysis to the imaging results, researchers can measure the relationships among highly connected and complex data like the network of connections in the human brain.

"Cognitive impairment in PD is one of the major non-motor complications of the disease, as well as one of the major concerns of patients and caregivers at the time of diagnosis," Dr. Agosta said. "Study of the changes related to cognitive impairment in PD is imperative in order to be able to answer patients' questions and finally be able to predict the future development of this condition."

The study group was made up of 170 PD patients, including 54 with MCI and 116 without, and 41 healthy controls. Analysis of imaging results showed that only PD patients with MCI had significant alterations at the brain network level. Measurements of the movement and diffusion of water in the brain, an indicator of the condition of the brain's signal-carrying white matter, differentiated PD patients with MCI from healthy controls and non-MCI PD patients with a good accuracy. Researchers said the results show that cognitive impairment in PD is likely the consequence of a disruption of complex structural brain networks rather than degeneration of individual white matter bundles.

The results may offer markers to differentiate PD patients with and without cognitive deficits, according to Dr. Agosta.

"If confirmed and replicated by other studies, these results would suggest the use of MRI in PD to support the clinicians in monitoring the disease and predicting the occurrence of cognitive complications," she said.

The researchers have obtained resting state functional MRI data from the patients and plan to study the functional connectome alterations associated with cognitive impairment in PD and how structural and functional abnormalities are interrelated.

The study is part of an international collaboration between the San Raffaele Scientific Institute and the Clinic of Neurology at the University of Belgrade in Belgrade, Serbia, led by Vladimir Kostic, M.D.
-end-
"Structural Brain Connectome and Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson's Disease." Collaborating with Drs. Filippi, Agosta and Galantucci were Elka Stefanova, M.D., Silvia Basaia, M.Sc., Martijn P. van den Heuvel, Ph.D., Tanja Stojkovi?, M.D., Elisa Canu, Ph.D., Iva Stankovi?, M.D., Vladana Spica, M.D., Massimiliano Copetti, Ph.D., Delia Gagliardi, M.D., and Vladimir S. Kostic, M.D.

Radiology is edited by Herbert Y. Kressel, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., and owned and published by the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. (http://radiology.rsna.org/)

RSNA is an association of more than 54,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists promoting excellence in patient care and health care delivery through education, research and technologic innovation. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org)

For patient-friendly information on brain MRI, visit RadiologyInfo.org.

Radiological Society of North America

Related Cognitive Impairment Articles:

Genomic copy number variants contribute to cognitive impairment in the UK
Genetic alterations of rare deletions or duplications of small DNA segments, called copy number variants (CNVs), have been known to increase risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual disability.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
Greek researchers demonstrated the potential of a self-administered virtual supermarket cognitive training game for remotely detecting mild cognitive impairment (MCI), without the need for an examiner, among a sample of older adults.
Link between sleep and cognitive impairment in the elderly
Daytime sleepiness is very common in the elderly with prevalence rates of up to 50 percent.
New guidelines could help improve research into vascular cognitive impairment
New guidelines have been developed that it is hoped will help to progress research into vascular cognitive impairment following a study led by academics at the University of Bristol that brought together the views of over 150 researchers in 27 countries.
Depression prevalence in patients with mild cognitive impairment
Depression commonly occurs in patients with mild cognitive impairment and a new review of the medical literature suggests an overall pooled prevalence of 32 percent, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
Research provides insights on the link between kidney damage and cognitive impairment
Kidney damage was linked with worse performance on tests of global cognitive function, executive function, memory, and attention.
Mild cognitive impairment patients take about 3 medications for concomittant diseases
Dr. Vasileios Papaliagkas, the corresponding author of the paper, pointed that the vast majority of MCI patients were taking at least one medication, whereas slightly less than half of the patients (40 percent) took at least four medications.
Post-mortem assessment guidelines for vascular cognitive impairment
New research, led by academics at the University of Bristol, has outlined the first validated set of pathological criteria for assessing the likelihood that cognitive impairment was caused by vascular disease.
Study: Training helps those with mild cognitive impairment
New research from the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas shows that strategy-based reasoning training can improve the cognitive performance for those with mild cognitive impairment, a preclinical stage of those at risk for Alzheimer's disease.
Why are blacks at higher risk for cognitive impairment?
Social and economic disadvantages play a significant role in why blacks face a much higher risk than whites of developing cognitive impairment later in life, indicates a national study led by a Michigan State University sociologist.

Related Cognitive Impairment Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...