Increased cerebral functional connectivity in ALS: A resting-state magnetoencephalography study

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Abstract

Objective

We sought to assess cortical function in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using noninvasive neural signal recording.

Methods

Resting-state magnetoencephalography was used to measure power fluctuations in neuronal oscillations from distributed cortical parcels in 24 patients with ALS and 24 healthy controls. A further 9 patients with primary lateral sclerosis and a group of 15 asymptomatic carriers of genetic mutations associated with ALS were also studied.

Results

Increased functional connectivity, particularly from the posterior cingulate cortex, was demonstrated in both patient groups compared to healthy controls. Directionally similar patterns were also evident in the asymptomatic genetic mutation carrier group.

Conclusion

Increased cortical functional connectivity elevation is a quantitative marker that reflects ALS pathology across its clinical spectrum, and may develop during the presymptomatic period. The amelioration of pathologic magnetoencephalography signals might be a marker sensitive enough to provide proof-of-principle in the development of future neuroprotective therapeutics.

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