Parkinson's Disease: Structural Integrity of Four Cognitive Networks
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) often show cognitive impairments in addition to motor symptoms, with the majority of PD patients converting to dementia as the disease progresses. The changes in the microstructural integrity of key nodes in resting state networks (RSNs) could be a good indicator of the cognitive effects of PD on brain regions as it progresses to dementia. To assess the association between cognitive effects and microstructural change, the microstructural integrity of the regions of interest (ROIs) in 4 resting state networks (RSN), specifically the default mode network (DMN), based on DTI were obtained in three separate groups of patients with PD. One group of patients (PD-N) were cognitively normal, while the second group of patients (PD-MCI) reflect the transitional phase of mild cognitive impairment prior to dementia, and the third group of patients (PD-D) possessed a clear diagnosis of dementia. A comparison group of healthy controls (HC) were included, matched across the three patient groups. The PD-D group showed worse microstructural integrity for the majority of the ROIs across the 4 networks. The loss of structural integrity in the PD-MCI group was more selective, with some ROIs showing similar changes to PD-D, and others showing similar changes to the PD-N group. The PD-N group fail to show any changes in the structural integrity of any ROIs, relative to HC. For future study, a combined structural / functional study should be performed to examine if there are similar changes across both measures.