Dynamic Functional Connectivity and Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease: A Resting-State fMRI Study

Gwenda Engels*, Annemarie Vlaar, Brónagh McCoy, Erik Scherder, Linda Douw

*Corresponding author for this work

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Research has shown that dynamic functional connectivity (dFC) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) is associated with better attention performance and with motor symptom severity. In the current study, we aimed to investigate dFC of both the default mode network (DMN) and the frontoparietal network (FPN) as neural correlates of cognitive functioning in patients with PD. Additionally, we investigated pain and motor problems as symptoms of PD in relation to dFC. Twenty-four PD patients and 27 healthy controls participated in this study. Memory and executive functioning were assessed with neuropsychological tests. Pain was assessed with the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS); motor symptom severity was assessed with the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). All subjects underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), from which dFC was defined by calculating the variability of functional connectivity over a number of sliding windows within each scan. dFC of both the DMN and FPN with the rest of the brain was calculated. Patients performed worse on tests of visuospatial memory, verbal memory and working memory. No difference existed between groups regarding dFC of the DMN nor the FPN with the rest of the brain. A positive correlation existed between dFC of the DMN and visuospatial memory. Our results suggest that dynamics during the resting state are a neural correlate of visuospatial memory in PD patients. Furthermore, we suggest that brain dynamics of the DMN, as measured with dFC, could be a phenomenon specifically linked to cognitive functioning in PD, but not to other symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number388
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2018

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