Increased variability in performance has been associated with the emergence of several neurological and psychiatric pathologies. However, whether and how consistency of neuronal activity may also be indicative of an underlying pathology is still poorly understood. Here we propose a novel method for evaluating consistency from non-invasive brain recordings. We evaluate the consistency of the cortical activity recorded with magnetoencephalography in a group of subjects diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a condition sometimes prodromal of dementia, during the execution of a memory task. We use metrics coming from nonlinear dynamics to evaluate the consistency of cortical regions. A representation known as parenclitic networks is constructed, where atypical features are endowed with a network structure, the topological properties of which can be studied at various scales. Pathological conditions correspond to strongly heterogeneous networks, whereas typical or normative conditions are characterized by sparsely connected networks with homogeneous nodes. The analysis of this kind of networks allows identifying the extent to which consistency is affected in the MCI group and the focal points where MCI is especially severe. To the best of our knowledge, these results represent the first attempt at evaluating the consistency of brain functional activity using complex networks theory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Applied Mathematics