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Brain Connect. 2017 Jun;7(5):321-330. doi: 10.1089/brain.2016.0469.

The Hierarchy of Brain Networks Is Related to Insulin Growth Factor-1 in a Large, Middle-Aged, Healthy Cohort: An Exploratory Magnetoencephalography Study.

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1 Department of Clinical Neurophysiology and MEG Center, VU University Medical Center , Amsterdam, The Netherlands .
2 Istituto di Diagnosi e Cura Hermitage Capodimonte , Naples, Italy .
3 Department of Methodology and Applied Biostatistics, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam , Amsterdam, The Netherlands .
4 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center , Amsterdam, The Netherlands .
5 Department of Anatomy and Neurosciences, VU University Medical Center , Amsterdam, The Netherlands .
6 Department of Radiology, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging/Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston, Massachusetts.


Recently, a large study demonstrated that lower serum levels of insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) relate to brain atrophy and to a greater risk for developing Alzheimer's disease in a healthy elderly population. We set out to test if functional brain networks relate to IGF-1 levels in the middle aged. Hence, we studied the association between IGF-1 and magnetoencephalography-based functional network characteristics in a middle-aged population. The functional connections between brain areas were estimated for six frequency bands (delta, theta, alpha1, alpha2, beta, gamma) using the phase lag index. Subsequently, the topology of the frequency-specific functional networks was characterized using the minimum spanning tree. Our results showed that lower levels of serum IGF-1 relate to a globally less integrated functional network in the beta and theta band. The associations remained significant when correcting for gender and systemic effects of IGF-1 that might indirectly affect the brain. The value of this exploratory study is the demonstration that lower levels of IGF-1 are associated with brain network topology in the middle aged.


insulin growth factor-1; magnetoencephalography; minimum spanning tree; network theory; phase lag index

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