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1.  Hierarchical multivariate covariance analysis of metabolic connectivity 
Conventional brain connectivity analysis is typically based on the assessment of interregional correlations. Given that correlation coefficients are derived from both covariance and variance, group differences in covariance may be obscured by differences in the variance terms. To facilitate a comprehensive assessment of connectivity, we propose a unified statistical framework that interrogates the individual terms of the correlation coefficient. We have evaluated the utility of this method for metabolic connectivity analysis using [18F]2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) data from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) study. As an illustrative example of the utility of this approach, we examined metabolic connectivity in angular gyrus and precuneus seed regions of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) subjects with low and high β-amyloid burdens. This new multivariate method allowed us to identify alterations in the metabolic connectome, which would not have been detected using classic seed-based correlation analysis. Ultimately, this novel approach should be extensible to brain network analysis and broadly applicable to other imaging modalities, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2014.165
PMCID: PMC4269748  PMID: 25294129
Alzheimer's disease; β-amyloid; covariance analysis; FDG PET; florbetapir PET; metabolic connectivity; mild cognitive impairment
2.  β-Amyloid is associated with aberrant metabolic connectivity in subjects with mild cognitive impairment 
Positron emission tomography (PET) studies using [18F]2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) have identified a well-defined pattern of glucose hypometabolism in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The assessment of the metabolic relationship among brain regions has the potential to provide unique information regarding the disease process. Previous studies of metabolic correlation patterns have demonstrated alterations in AD subjects relative to age-matched, healthy control subjects. The objective of this study was to examine the associations between β-amyloid, apolipoprotein E ɛ4 (APOE ɛ4) genotype, and metabolic correlations patterns in subjects diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Mild cognitive impairment subjects from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) study were categorized into β-amyloid-low and β-amyloid-high groups, based on quantitative analysis of [18F]florbetapir PET scans, and APOE ɛ4 non-carriers and carriers based on genotyping. We generated voxel-wise metabolic correlation strength maps across the entire cerebral cortex for each group, and, subsequently, performed a seed-based analysis. We found that the APOE ɛ4 genotype was closely related to regional glucose hypometabolism, while elevated, fibrillar β-amyloid burden was associated with specific derangements of the metabolic correlation patterns.
doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2014.66
PMCID: PMC4083380  PMID: 24736891
APOE ɛ4; β-amyloid; FDG PET; florbetapir PET; metabolic connectivity; mild cognitive impairment
3.  Impaired small-world efficiency in structural cortical networks in multiple sclerosis associated with white matter lesion load 
Brain  2009;132(12):3366-3379.
White matter tracts, which play a crucial role in the coordination of information flow between different regions of grey matter, are particularly vulnerable to multiple sclerosis. Many studies have shown that the white matter lesions in multiple sclerosis are associated with focal abnormalities of grey matter, but little is known about the alterations in the coordinated patterns of cortical morphology among regions in the disease. Here, we used cortical thickness measurements from structural magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the relationship between the white matter lesion load and the topological efficiency of structural cortical networks in multiple sclerosis. Network efficiency was defined using a ‘small-world’ network model that quantifies the effectiveness of information transfer within brain networks. In this study, we first classified patients (n = 330) into six subgroups according to their total white matter lesion loads, and identified structural brain networks for each multiple sclerosis group by thresholding the corresponding inter-regional cortical thickness correlation matrix, followed by a network efficiency analysis with graph theoretical approaches. The structural cortical networks in multiple sclerosis demonstrated efficient small-world architecture regardless of the lesion load, an organization that maximizes the information processing at a relatively low wiring cost. However, we found that the overall small-world network efficiency in multiple sclerosis was significantly disrupted in a manner proportional to the extent of total white matter lesions. Moreover, regional efficiency was also significantly decreased in specific brain regions, including the insula and precentral gyrus as well as regions of prefrontal and temporal association cortices. Finally, we showed that the lesions also altered many cortical thickness correlations in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes. Our results suggest that the white matter lesions in multiple sclerosis might be associated with aberrant neuronal connectivity among widely distributed brain regions, and provide structural (morphological) evidence for the notion of multiple sclerosis as a disconnection syndrome.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp089
PMCID: PMC2792366  PMID: 19439423
cortical thickness; connectivity; MRI; multiple sclerosis; small-world networks

Results 1-3 (3)