Psychiatric symptoms and motor impairment are major contributions to the poor quality of life in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we applied a novel diffusion-weighted imaging approach, diffusion MRI connectometry, to investigate the correlation of quality of life, evaluated by Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire (PDQ39) with the white matter structural connectivity in 27 non-demented PD patients (disease duration of 5.3 ± 2.9 years, H and Y stage = 1.5 ± 0.6, UPDRS-III = 13.7 ± 6.5, indicating unilateral and mild motor involvement). The connectometry analysis demonstrated bilateral posterior limbs of the internal capsule (PLIC) with increased connectivity related to the higher quality of life (FDR = 0.027) in a multiple regression model. The present study suggests for the first time a neural basis of the quality of life in PD in the light of major determinants of poor quality of life in these patients: anxiety, depression, apathy and motor impairment. Results in our sample of non-demented PD patients with relatively mild motor impairment and no apparent sign of depression/anxiety also identify a unique and inexplicable association of the PLIC to the quality of life in PD patients.
Quality of life Parkinson’s disease Diffusion MRI Connectometry
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This dataset was supported by the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research, the University of Liège, the Queen Elisabeth Medical Foundation, the Léon Fredericq Foundation, the Belgian Inter-University Attraction Program, the Walloon Excellence in Life Sciences and Biotechnology program, and the Marie Curie Initial Training Network in Neurophysics (PITN-GA-2009-238593).
FGS and MHA contributed to the conception and design of the study; MHA, FGS, MMZ and MH contributed to data collection and analysis. FGS and MHA contributed to writing the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Ethics approval and consent to participate
All procedures performed here including human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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