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Structural and functional brain networks: from connections to cognition a study applied to Cerebral Small Vessel Disease

Grant number: 17/22212-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2019
Effective date (End): January 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Medical Radiology
Principal researcher:Renata Ferranti Leoni
Grantee:Pedro Henrique Rodrigues da Silva
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil


In the human brain, neuronal interactions represent the dynamics of a fixed structural connectivity that underlies cognition and behavior. The divergence between (dynamic) functional connectivity and (fixed) structural connectivity is perhaps the most intriguing of the brain and calls for intensive research. We can better understand the functioning of the brain and its relation to cognition studying the dynamics and self-organization of functional networks. We will try to answer these questions by testing whether the pattern in resting-state functional networks can predict cognitive task activations in extended regions and how structural connectivity is related to it. In this context, we will evaluate functional localization and integration in response to the execution of a cognitive task, the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), which evaluates the Information Processing Speed (IPS), adapted to the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) environment. More specifically, we will examine how regions within the brain network interact with each other studying the effective connectivity, defined as how one region influences or causes activity in another during the neural process. For purposes of clinical application, patients with Cerebral Small Vessel Disease (CSVD) are of great interest, given the impact on global public health, open questions about the structural and functional damages that the disease causes and the high incidence of cognitive deficit in processing speed. Therefore, with the development of the present work, we intend to determine a structured process to investigate the dynamics of functional networks, its relationship with the structural networks and the cognitive performance of IPS in healthy individuals and in a clinical group with CSVD. We will use empirical data obtained with acquisition of MR images and neuropsychological evaluation. (AU)

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