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Publication - Dr Liz Coulthard

    Network substrates of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's Disease


    Tait, L, Stothart, G, Coulthard, E, Brown, JT, Kazanina, N & Goodfellow, M, 2019, ‘Network substrates of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's Disease’. Clinical Neurophysiology, vol 130., pp. 1581-1595


    OBJECTIVES: Functional and structural disconnection of the brain is a prevailing hypothesis to explain cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's Disease (AD). We aim to understand the link between alterations to networks and cognitive impairment using functional connectivity analysis and modelling.

    METHODS: EEG was recorded from 21 AD patients and 26 controls, mapped into source space using eLORETA, and functional connectivity was calculated using phase locking factor. The mini-mental state exam (MMSE) was used to assess cognitive impairment. A computational model was used to uncover mechanisms of altered functional connectivity.

    RESULTS: Small-worldness (SW) of functional networks decreased in AD and was positively correlated with MMSE score and the language sub-score. Reduced SW was a result of increased path lengths, predominantly localized to the temporal lobes. Combining observed differences in local oscillation frequency with reduced temporal lobe effective connectivity in the model could account for observed functional network differences.

    CONCLUSIONS: Temporal lobe disconnection plays a key role in cognitive impairment in AD.

    SIGNIFICANCE: We combine electrophysiology, neuropsychological scores, and computational modelling to provide novel insight into the relationships between the disconnection hypothesis and cognitive decline in AD.

    Full details in the University publications repository