Hyposmia and apathy in early, de novo Parkinson's disease: Lessons from structural brain connectivity

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Journal of the neurological sciences


INTRODUCTION: The neuroanatomical structures implicated in olfactory and emotional processing overlap significantly. Our understanding of the relationship between hyposmia and apathy, common manifestations of early Parkinson's disease (PD), is inadequate.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed data on 40 patients with early de-novo idiopathic PD enrolled within 2 years of motor symptom onset in the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) study. To be included in the analysis, patients must have smell dysfunction but no apathy at the baseline visit and had completed a diffusion MRI (dMRI) at the baseline visit and at the 48-month follow-up visit. We used the FMRIB Software Library's diffusion tool kit to measure fractional anisotropy (FA) in six regions of interest on dMRI: bilateral anterior corona radiata, left cingulum, left superior corona radiata, genu and body of the corpus callosum. We compared the FA in each region from the dMRI done at the beginning of the study with the follow up studies at 4 years.

RESULTS: We found a significant decrease of FA at the bilateral anterior corona radiata, and the genu and body of the corpus callosum comparing baseline scans with follow up images at 4-years after starting the study.

CONCLUSION: Structural connectivity changes associated with apathy can be seen early in PD patients with smell dysfunction.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Anosmia; Parkinson Disease; Brain; Apathy; Olfaction Disorders

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