Neuroimaging biomarkers associated with clinical dysfunction in Parkinson disease
Parkinson disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the world, directly affecting 2-3% of the population over the age of 65. People diagnosed with the disorder can experience motor, autonomic, cognitive, sensory and neuropsychiatric symptoms that can significantly impact quality of life. Uncertainty still exists about the pathophysiological mechanisms that underlie a range of clinical features of the disorder, linked to structural as well as functional brain changes....[Show more]
|dc.description.abstract||Parkinson disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the world, directly affecting 2-3% of the population over the age of 65. People diagnosed with the disorder can experience motor, autonomic, cognitive, sensory and neuropsychiatric symptoms that can significantly impact quality of life. Uncertainty still exists about the pathophysiological mechanisms that underlie a range of clinical features of the disorder, linked to structural as well as functional brain changes. This thesis thus aimed to uncover neuroimaging biomarkers associated with clinical dysfunction in PD. A 'hubs-and-spokes' neural circuit-based approach can contribute to this aim, by analysing the component elements and also the interconnections of important brain networks. This thesis focusses on structures within basal ganglia-thalamocortical neuronal circuits that are linked to a range functions impacted in the disorder, and that are vulnerable to the consequences of PD pathology. This thesis investigated neuronal 'hubs' by studying the morphology of the caudate nucleus, putamen, thalamus and neocortex. The caudate nucleus, putamen and thalamus are all vital subcortical 'hubs' that play important roles in a number of functional domains that are compromised in PD. The neocortex, on the other hand, has a range of 'hubs' spread across it, regions of the brain that are crucial for neuronal signalling and communication. The interconnections, or 'spokes', between these hubs and other brain regions were investigated using seed-based resting-state functional connectivity analyses. Finally, a morphological analysis was used to investigate possible structural changes to the corpus callosum, the major inter-hemispheric white matter tract of the brain, crucial to effective higher-order brain processes. This thesis demonstrates that the caudate nucleus, putamen, thalamus, corpus callosum and neocortex are all atrophied in PD participants with dementia. PD participants also demonstrated a significant correlation between volumes of the caudate nuclei and general cognitive functioning and speed, while putamina volumes were correlated with general motor function. Cognitively unimpaired PD participants demonstrated minimal morphological alterations compared to control participants, however they demonstrated significant increases in functional connectivity of the caudate nucleus, putamen and thalamus with areas across the frontal lobe, and decreases in functional connectivity with parietal and cerebellar regions. PD participants with mild cognitive impairment and dementia show decreased functional connectivity of the thalamus with paracingulate and posterior cingulate cortices, respectively. This thesis contributes a deeper understanding of the relationship between structures of basal ganglia-thalamocortical neuronal circuits, corpus callosal and neocortical morphology, and the clinical dysfunction associated with PD. This thesis suggests that functional connectivity changes are more common in early stages of the disorder, while morphological alterations are more pronounced in advanced disease stages.|
|dc.title||Neuroimaging biomarkers associated with clinical dysfunction in Parkinson disease|
|Collections||Open Access Theses|
|Conor_OW_phd_thesis_final.pdf||Thesis Material||9.6 MB||Adobe PDF|
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