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Group of Brain Structural Networks Linked to Loss of Cognitive Function

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on November 4, 2016 at 5:09 PM
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 Group of Brain Structural Networks Linked to Loss of Cognitive Function

Structural covariance networks (SCNs) may be an important indicator of diminished cognitive functioning in older persons, suggested an article published in Brain Connectivity.

The decreased expression of some SCNs in the brain is associated with advancing age, whereas other networks are less affected by age, and  this new study now points to the independent effects of cerebral small vessel disease on SCNs. 

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Jessica Foster-Dingley, Jeroen van der Grond from Leiden University Medical Center and Leiden University, the Netherlands and CAPRI-University of Antwerp, Belgium, analyzed the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of study participants aged 75-96 years who had mild loss in cognitive function. The researchers assessed the volume of white matter hyperintensities, microbleeds, and other vascular changes associated with small vessel disease. They compared this to the expression of SCNs, age, memory loss, and psychomotor speed.

"Scientific consensus is building that age related cognitive decline is connected to maladaptive changes in the brain's small blood vessels," says Christopher Pawela, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Brain Connectivity and Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin. "Leiden University researchers have performed an elegant study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to demonstrate that these micro-scale blood vessel alterations are related to decreased detection of certain imaging brain networks and, furthermore, that decreased detection of these brain networks is correlated to impaired cognitive functioning using standard behavioral testing methods."

Source: Eurekalert
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