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The radical restructuring of brain networks in comatose patients
Date:12/4/2012

This press release is available in French.

The researchers are focusing on analysing brain networks of brain-damaged comatose (non-traumatised) patients, a state where the individual is considered to be unconscious.

The authors of the study used an original graph theory-based methodology, where images were constructed using functional MRI data at rest and using robust statistical signal-processing methods. Local and overall effectiveness indices of functional brain networks were obtained for 17 brain-damaged patients and 20 healthy volunteers. Correlations in 417 brain regions were extracted to produce brain connection graphs using the statistically significant correlations.

Inserm unit 836 "Grenoble Institut des neurosciences", CNRS researchers from the "GIPSA lab" and from the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute in Cambridge, in collaboration with clinical practitioners from the Strasbourg University Hospital Centre, have been able to highlight restructured brain networks in brain-damaged (non-traumatized) comatose patients.

Through comparisons with the healthy subjects, the results demonstrate that the overall cerebral connectivity is preserved in comatose patients. By analysing the connectivity at a local level, the authors of the study have observed that some brain regions ("hubs"), which are highly connected in healthy volunteers, are less well connected in comatose patients. Conversely, the less densely connected regions in the network in healthy subjects become "hubs" in comatose patients.

Brain imaging obtained from connectivity graphs

The connectivity graph method is used to summarize in a single image data acquired through MRI scanning. It translates the effectiveness of connections in a single region compared to all the others. By grouping the most interconnected regions, modules are
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Contact: Inserm press office
presse@inserm.fr
INSERM (Institut national de la sant et de la recherche mdicale)
Source:Eurekalert

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