Cortical Network Analysis in Patients Affected by Schizophrenia
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In the present study, we studied the structural changes of the brain functional network in a group of schizophrenic (SCHZ) patients during a 2-back working memory task. Cortical signals were obtained from scalp EEG signals through the high-resolution EEG technique, which relies on realistic head models and linear inverse solutions. Functional networks were estimated by computing the spectral coherence—i.e. a measure of synchronization in the frequency domain—between the time series of all the available cortical sources. To analyze those cortical networks we followed a theoretical graph approach by computing the network density as the total number of links and the node degree as the number of links of each cortical source. The major result suggest that in the Alpha2 frequency band (11–13 Hz) the cortical functional networks of the SCHZ patients present the largest differences when compared with those of a group of control (CTRL) subjects. In particular, the structure of the SCHZ network altered radically during the memory task, as the number of links that were different from the REST condition increased sensibly with respect to the CTRL network. In addition, a compensatory mechanism was found in the SCHZ patients during the correct performance of the memory task where the node degree showed a frontal asymmetry with higher activation of the left frontal lobe—i.e. higher number of connections—in the Alpha2 frequency band.
KeywordsHigh-resolution EEG Functional connectivity Graph theory Schizophrenia
This study was performed with the support of the COST EU project NEUROMATH (BM 0601).
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