Jesse A. Brown et al demonstrated that neurodegeneration spreads along connectional pathways in the brain. The researchers evaluated the transneuronal degeneration hypothesis by studying atrophy in a patient with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA). Researchers determined patient-specific “epicentres” at the baseline. They then located each patient’s epicentres in a healthy functional connectome and derived two region-wise graph theoretical metrics to evaluate the path of future degeneration. The graph depicts the shortest path length to the epicentre and the successive atrophy along the region’s first-degree neighbours. The researchers could accurately predict degeneration in most patients upon long term evaluation. The regions most vulnerable to subsequent atrophy were found functionally connected to the epicentre. The findings could lead to brain network-based clinical tools for prediction and monitoring of the disease.
Source: Neuron October 14, 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2019.08.037