Breakdown of Inter-Hemispheric Connectivity Is Associated with Posttraumatic Symptomatology and Memory Impairment.
ABSTRACT: Altered brain anatomy in specific gray-matter regions has been shown in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recently, white-matter tracts have become a focus of research in PTSD. The corpus callosum (CC) is the principal white-matter fiber bundle, crucial in relaying sensory, motor and cognitive information between hemispheres. Alterations in CC fibers have been reported in PTSD and might be assumed to underlie substantial behavioral and cognitive sequelae; however most diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies in adult-onset PTSD failed to address the clinical correlates between imaging and PTSD symptoms severity, behavioral manifestation and cognitive functions. In the current study we examined (a) to what extent microstructural integrity of the CC is associated with memory performance and (b) whether imaging and cognitive parameters are associated with PTSD symptom severity. DTI data were obtained and fractional anisotropy (FA) values were computed for 16 patients and 14 controls. PTSD symptom severity was assessed by employing the clinician administered PTSD scale (CAPS) and memory was tested using a task probing item and associative memory for words and pictures. Significant correlations were found between PTSD symptoms severity, memory accuracy and reaction-time to CC FA values in the PTSD group. This study demonstrates meaningful clinical and cognitive correlates of microstructural connectivity. These results have implications for diagnostic tools and future studies aimed at identifying individuals at risk for PTSD.
Project description:BACKGROUND:There is some evidence that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients have white matter integrity abnormality in the corpus callosum (CC). However, whether the CC subregions are differentially affected in OSA is largely unknown. METHODS:Twenty patients with OSA and 24 well-matched healthy controls were enrolled and underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and clinical and cognitive assessments. DTI tractography was used to reconstruct the CC which was divided into five subregions. Intergroup differences in multiple diffusion metrics of each CC subregion and their correlations with clinical and cognitive parameters were tested. RESULTS:In comparison with healthy controls, OSA patients exhibited white matter integrity alterations in the anterior CC, characterized by increased radial diffusivity (RD) in the subregion 1 and decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) along with increased mean diffusivity (MD) and RD in the subregion 2. Moreover, we found that the lower microstructural integrity in the anterior CC was correlated with worse prospective memory and sustained attention in OSA patients. CONCLUSIONS:These findings indicate that the selective impairments of the anterior CC may help clarify the neural correlates of cognitive impairments in OSA.
Project description:Degeneration of the corpus callosum (CC) is evident in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the correlation of microstructural damage in the CC on the cognitive performance of patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and AD dementia is undetermined. We enrolled 26 normal controls, 24 patients with AD dementia, and 40 single-domain aMCI patients with at least grade 1 hippocampal atrophy and isolated memory impairment. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) with fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (DA), and radial diffusivity (DR) were measured. The entire CC was parcellated based on fiber trajectories to specific cortical Brodmann areas using a probabilistic tractography method. The relationship between the DTI measures in the subregions of the CC and cognitive performance was examined. Although the callosal degeneration in the patients with aMCI was less extended than in the patients with AD dementia, degeneration was already exhibited in several subregions of the CC at the aMCI stage. Scores of various neuropsychological tests were correlated to the severity of microstructural changes in the subregional CC connecting to functionally corresponding cortical regions. Our results confirm that CC degeneration is noticeable as early as the aMCI stage of AD and the disconnection of the CC subregional fibers to the corresponding Brodmann areas has an apparent impact on the related cognitive performance.
Project description:Many brain imaging studies have demonstrated reductions in gray and white matter volumes in alcoholism, with fewer investigators using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine the integrity of white matter pathways. Among various medical conditions, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are two comorbid diseases that have similar degenerative effects on the white matter integrity. Therefore, understanding and differentiating these effects would be very important in characterizing alcoholism and PTSD. Alcoholics are known to have neurocognitive deficits in decision-making, particularly in decisions related to emotionally-motivated behavior, while individuals with PTSD have deficits in emotional regulation and enhanced fear response. It is widely believed that these types of abnormalities in both alcoholism and PTSD are related to fronto-limbic dysfunction. In addition, previous studies have shown cortico-limbic fiber degradation through fiber tracking in alcoholism. DTI was used to measure white matter fractional anisotropy (FA), which provides information about tissue microstructure, possibly indicating white matter integrity. We quantitatively investigated the microstructure of white matter through whole brain DTI analysis in healthy volunteers (HV) and alcohol dependent subjects without PTSD (ALC) and with PTSD (ALC+PTSD). These data show significant differences in FA between alcoholics and non-alcoholic HVs, with no significant differences in FA between ALC and ALC+PTSD in any white matter structure. We performed a post-hoc region of interest analysis that allowed us to incorporate multiple covariates into the analysis and found similar results. HV had higher FA in several areas implicated in the reward circuit, emotion, and executive functioning, suggesting that there may be microstructural abnormalities in white matter pathways that contribute to neurocognitive and executive functioning deficits observed in alcoholics. Furthermore, our data do not reveal any differences between ALC and ALC+PTSD, suggesting that the effect of alcohol on white matter microstructure may be more significant than any effect caused by PTSD.
Project description:Studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are complicated by wide variability in the intensity and duration of prior stressors in patient participants, secondary effects of chronic psychiatric illness, and a variable history of treatment with psychiatric medications. In magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies, patient samples have often been small, and they were not often compared to similarly stressed patients without PTSD in order to control for general stress effects. Findings from these studies have been inconsistent. The present study investigated whole-brain microstructural alterations of white matter in a large drug-naive population who survived a specific, severe traumatic event (a major 8.0-magnitude earthquake). Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), we explored group differences between 88 PTSD patients and 91 matched traumatized non-PTSD controls in fractional anisotropy (FA), as well as its component elements axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD), and examined these findings in relation to findings from deterministic DTI tractography. Relations between white matter alterations and psychiatric symptom severity were examined. PTSD patients, relative to similarly stressed controls, showed an FA increase as well as AD and RD changes in the white matter beneath left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and forceps major. The observation of increased FA in the PTSD group suggests that the pathophysiology of PTSD after a specific acute traumatic event is distinct from what has been reported in patients with several years duration of illness. Alterations in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex may be an important aspect of illness pathophysiology, possibly via the region's established role in fear extinction circuitry. Use-dependent myelination or other secondary compensatory changes in response to heightened demands for threat appraisal and emotion regulation may be involved.
Project description:Introduction: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with a clinical presentation characterized by memory impairment and executive dysfunction. Our group previously demonstrated significant alterations in white matter microstructural metrics in AD compared to healthy older adults. We aimed to further investigate the relationship between white matter microstructure in AD and cognitive function, including memory and executive function.Methods: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and neuropsychological data were downloaded from the AD Neuroimaging Initiative database for 49 individuals with AD and 48 matched healthy older adults. The relationship between whole-brain fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AxD), radial diffusivity (RD), and composite scores of memory and executive function was examined. We also considered voxel-wise relationships using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics.Results: As expected, individuals with AD had lower composite scores on tests of memory and executive function, as well as disrupted white matter integrity (low FA, high MD, AxD, and RD) relative to healthy older adults in widespread regions, including the hippocampus. When the AD and healthy older adult groups were combined, we found significant relationships between DTI metrics (FA/MD/AxD/RD) and memory scores across widespread regions of the brain, including the medial temporal regions. We also found significant relationships between DTI metrics (FA/MD/AxD/RD) and executive function in widespread regions, including the frontal areas in the combined group. However, when the groups were examined separately, no significant relationships were found between DTI metrics (FA/MD/AxD/RD) and memory performance for either group. Further, we did not find any significant relationships between DTI metrics (FA/MD/AxD/RD) and executive function in the AD group, but we did observe significant relationships between FA/RD, and executive function in healthy older adults.Conclusion: White matter integrity is disrupted in AD. In a mixed sample of AD and healthy elderly persons, associations between measures of white matter microstructure and memory and executive cognitive test performance were evident. However, no significant linear relationship between the degree of white matter disruption and level of cognitive functioning (memory and executive abilities) was found in those with AD. Future longitudinal studies of the relations between DTI metrics and cognitive function in AD are required to determine whether DTI has potential to measure progression of AD and/or treatment efficacy.
Project description:Increasing age is associated with deficits in a wide range of cognitive domains as well as with structural brain changes. Recent studies using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) have shown that microstructural integrity of white matter is associated with cognitive performance in elderly persons, especially on tests that rely on perceptual speed. We used structural equation modeling to investigate associations between white matter microstructure and cognitive functions in a population-based sample of elderly persons (age ? 60 years), free of dementia, stroke, and neurological disorders (n = 253). Participants underwent a magnetic resonance imaging scan, from which mean fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) of seven white matter tracts were quantified. Cognitive functioning was analyzed according to performance in five task domains (perceptual speed, episodic memory, semantic memory, letter fluency, and category fluency). After controlling for age, FA and MD were exclusively related to perceptual speed. When further stratifying the sample into two age groups, the associations were reliable in the old-old (? 78 years) only. This relationship between white matter microstructure and perceptual speed remained significant after excluding persons in a preclinical dementia phase. The observed pattern of results suggests that microstructural white matter integrity may be especially important to perceptual speed among very old adults.
Project description:Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in childhood is characterized by gray and white matter abnormalities in several brain areas. Considerably less is known about white matter microstructure in adults with ADHD and its relation with clinical symptoms and cognitive performance. In 107 adult ADHD patients and 109 gender-, age- and IQ-matched controls, we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) with tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) to investigate whole-skeleton changes of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean, axial, and radial diffusivity (MD, AD, RD). Additionally, we studied the relation of FA and MD values with symptom severity and cognitive performance on tasks measuring working memory, attention, inhibition, and delay discounting. In comparison to controls, participants with ADHD showed reduced FA in corpus callosum, bilateral corona radiata, and thalamic radiation. Higher MD and RD were found in overlapping and even more widespread areas in both hemispheres, also encompassing internal and external capsule, sagittal stratum, fornix, and superior lateral fasciculus. Values of FA and MD were not associated with symptom severity. However, within some white matter clusters that distinguished patients from controls, worse inhibition performance was associated with reduced FA and more impulsive decision making was associated with increased MD. This study shows widespread differences in white matter integrity between adults with persistent ADHD and healthy individuals. Changes in RD suggest aberrant myelination as a pathophysiological factor in persistent ADHD. The microstructural differences in adult ADHD may contribute to poor inhibition and greater impulsivity but appear to be independent of disease severity.
Project description:Mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) are often associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In cases of chronic mTBI, accurate diagnosis can be challenging due to the overlapping symptoms this condition shares with PTSD. Furthermore, mTBIs are heterogeneous and not easily observed using conventional neuroimaging tools, despite the fact that diffuse axonal injuries are the most common injury. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is sensitive to diffuse axonal injuries and is thus more likely to detect mTBIs, especially when analyses account for the inter-individual variability of these injuries. Using a subject-specific approach, we compared fractional anisotropy (FA) abnormalities between groups with a history of mTBI (n = 35), comorbid mTBI and PTSD (mTBI + PTSD; n = 22), and healthy controls (n = 37). We compared all three groups on the number of abnormal FA clusters derived from subject-specific injury profiles (i.e., individual z-score maps) along a common white matter skeleton. The mTBI + PTSD group evinced a greater number of abnormally low FA clusters relative to both the healthy controls and the mTBI group without PTSD (p < .05). Across the groups with a history of mTBI, increased numbers of abnormally low FA clusters were significantly associated with PTSD symptom severity, depression, post-concussion symptoms, and reduced information processing speed (p < .05). These findings highlight the utility of subject-specific microstructural analyses when searching for mTBI-related brain abnormalities, particularly in patients with PTSD. This study also suggests that patients with a history of mTBI and comorbid PTSD, relative to those without PTSD, are at increased risk of FA abnormalities.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is known to affect large-scale gray and white matter networks, and these network changes likely contribute to the verbal memory impairments observed in many patients. In this study, we investigate multimodal imaging patterns of brain alterations in TLE and evaluate the sensitivity of different imaging measures to verbal memory impairment. METHODS:Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (vMRI), and resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) were evaluated in 46 patients with TLE and 33 healthy controls to measure patterns of microstructural, structural, and functional alterations, respectively. These measurements were obtained within the white matter directly beneath neocortex (ie, superficial white matter [SWM]) for DTI and across neocortex for vMRI and rs-fMRI. The degree to which imaging alterations within left medial temporal lobe/posterior cingulate (LMT/PC) and left lateral temporal regions were associated with verbal memory performance was evaluated. RESULTS:Patients with left TLE and right TLE both demonstrated pronounced microstructural alterations (ie, decreased fractional anisotropy [FA] and increased mean diffusivity [MD]) spanning the entire frontal and temporolimbic SWM, which were highly lateralized to the ipsilateral hemisphere. Conversely, reductions in cortical thickness in vMRI and alterations in the magnitude of the rs-fMRI response were less pronounced and less lateralized than the microstructural changes. Both stepwise regression and mediation analyses further revealed that FA and MD within SWM in LMT/PC regions were the most robust predictors of verbal memory, and that these associations were independent of left hippocampal volume. SIGNIFICANCE:These findings suggest that microstructural loss within the SWM is pronounced in patients with TLE, and injury to the SWM within the LMT/PC region plays a critical role in verbal memory impairment.
Project description:Recent efforts using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) have documented white matter (WM) alterations in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The full potential of whole-brain DTI, however, has not been fully exploited as studies have focused on individual microstructural indices independently. In patients with AD (n?=?79), mild (MCI, n?=?55) and subjective (SCI, n?=?30) cognitive impairment, we applied linked independent component analysis (LICA) to model inter-subject variability across five complementary DTI measures (fractional anisotropy (FA), axial/radial/mean diffusivity, diffusion tensor mode), two crossing fiber measures estimated using a multi-compartment crossing-fiber model reflecting the volume fraction of the dominant (f1) and non-dominant (f2) diffusion orientation, and finally, connectivity density obtained from full-brain probabilistic tractography. The LICA component explaining the largest data variance was highly sensitive to disease severity (AD?<?MCI?<?SCI) and revealed widespread coordinated decreases in FA and f1 with increases in all diffusivity measures in AD. Additionally, it reflected regional coordinated decreases and increases in f2, mode and connectivity density, implicating bidirectional alterations of crossing fibers in the fornix, uncinate fasciculi, corpus callosum and major sensorimotor pathways. LICA yielded improved diagnostic classification performance compared to univariate region-of-interest features. Our results document coordinated WM microstructural and connectivity alterations in line with disease severity across the AD continuum.