Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Measuring network disruption in neurodegenerative diseases: New approaches using signal analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John-Paul TaylorORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.Advanced neuroimaging has increased understanding of the pathogenesis and spread of disease, and offered new therapeutic targets. MRI and positron emission tomography have shown that neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Lewy body dementia (LBD), Parkinson's disease (PD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) are associated with changes in brain networks. However, the underlying neurophysiological pathways driving pathological processes are poorly defined. The gap between what imaging can discern and underlying pathophysiology can now be addressed by advanced techniques that explore the cortical neural synchronisation, excitability and functional connectivity that underpin cognitive, motor, sensory and other functions. Transcranial magnetic stimulation can show changes in focal excitability in cortical and transcortical motor circuits, while electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography can now record cortical neural synchronisation and connectivity with good temporal and spatial resolution. Here we reflect on the most promising new approaches to measuring network disruption in AD, LBD, PD, FTD, MS, and ALS. We consider the most groundbreaking and clinically promising studies in this field. We outline the limitations of these techniques and how they can be tackled and discuss how these novel approaches can assist in clinical trials by predicting and monitoring progression of neurophysiological changes underpinning clinical symptomatology.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McMackin R, Muthuraman M, Groppa S, Babiloni C, Taylor J-P, Kiernan MC, Nasseroleslami B, Hardiman O

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

Year: 2019

Volume: 90

Issue: 9

Pages: 1011-1020

Print publication date: 14/08/2019

Online publication date: 13/02/2019

Acceptance date: 21/01/2019

ISSN (print): 0022-3050

ISSN (electronic): 1468-330X

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/jnnp-2018-319581