Functional EEG network analysis in schizophrenia: Evidence of larger segregation and deficit of modulation

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Abstract

Objective:

Higher mental functions depend on global cerebral functional coordination. Our aim was to study fast modulation of functional networks in schizophrenia that has not been previously assessed.

Methods:

Graph-theory was used to analyze the electroencephalographic (EEG) activity during an odd-ball task in 57 schizophrenia patients (18 first episode patients, FEPs) and 59 healthy controls. Clustering coefficient (CLC), characteristic path length (PL) and small-worldness (SW) were computed at baseline ([−300 0] ms prior to stimulus delivery) and response ([150 450] ms post-stimulus) windows. Clinical and cognitive assessments were performed.

Results:

CLC, PL and SW showed a significant modulation between baseline and response in controls but not in patients. Patients obtained higher CLC and SW at baseline, lower CLC and higher PL at response, and diminished modulation of CLC and SW as compared to controls. In patients, CLC and SW modulation were inversely associated to cognitive performance in executive tasks and directly associated to working memory. Similar patterns were observed in FEPs. CLC and SW during the baseline were inversely associated to their respective modulation magnitudes.

Conclusions:

Our results are coherent with a hyper-segregated network at baseline (higher CLC) and a decreased modulation of the functional connectivity during cognition in schizophrenia.

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