Neuroimaging biomarkers associated with clinical dysfunction in Parkinson disease
Conor Owens-Walton, University, The Australian National, University, The Australian National
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.
... his 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 [...]