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Math Vis. 2014;2014:13-22.

Rich club network analysis shows distinct patterns of disruption in frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

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Imaging Genetics Center, Institute for Neuroimaging & Informatics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Diffusion imaging and brain connectivity analyses can reveal the underlying organizational patterns of the human brain, described as complex networks of densely interlinked regions. Here, we analyzed 1.5-Tesla whole-brain diffusion-weighted images from 64 participants - 15 patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal (bvFTD) dementia, 19 with early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD), and 30 healthy elderly controls. Based on whole-brain tractography, we reconstructed structural brain connectivity networks to map connections between cortical regions. We examined how bvFTD and EOAD disrupt the weighted 'rich club' - a network property where high-degree network nodes are more interconnected than expected by chance. bvFTD disrupts both the nodal and global organization of the network in both low- and high-degree regions of the brain. EOAD targets the global connectivity of the brain, mainly affecting the fiber density of high-degree (highly connected) regions that form the rich club network. These rich club analyses suggest distinct patterns of disruptions among different forms of dementia.

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