Graph analysis of functional brain networks for cognitive control of action in traumatic brain injury

Brain, 04/16/2012

The authors conclude that analysing the functional brain network connectivity provides new insights into understanding cognitive control changes following brain injury.

Methods

  • The authors constructed binary and weighted functional networks and calculated their topological properties using a graph theoretical approach.
  • Twenty-three adults with traumatic brain injury and 26 age-matched controls were instructed to switch between coordination modes while making spatially and temporally coupled circular motions with joysticks during event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Results

  • Results demonstrated that switching performance was significantly lower in patients with traumatic brain injury compared with control subjects.
  • Furthermore, although brain networks of both groups exhibited economical small-world topology, altered functional connectivity was demonstrated in patients with traumatic brain injury.
  • In particular, compared with controls, patients with traumatic brain injury showed increased connectivity degree and strength, and higher values of local efficiency, suggesting adaptive mechanisms in this group.
  • Finally, the degree of increased connectivity was significantly correlated with poorer switching task performance and more severe brain injury.

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