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Abstract #0204

Brainstem structural connectivity changes in prodromal Parkinson’s disease by 7 Tesla HARDI

María Guadalupe García-Gomar1, Kavita Singh1, Matthew Stauder2, Laura D. Lewis1, Lawrence L. Wald1, Bruce R. Rosen1, Aleksandar Videnovic2, and Marta Bianciardi1
1Department of Radiology, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States, 2Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States

REM-sleep-behavior-disorder (RBD) is a sleep disorder characterized by the absence of muscular atonia during REM sleep. RBD patients have a high risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD) within 10 years from RBD diagnosis. Thus, RBD allows the investigation of early/prodromal neurodegenerative-stages. Changes in brainstem-nuclei-connectivity are expected in RBD/prodromal-PD based on animal and ex-vivo human-studies. Yet, their investigation in living-humans is understudied. Through high-spatial-resolution 7 Tesla HARDI MRI and a recently-developed probabilistic-brainstem-nuclei-atlas, we built a brainstem-based structural-connectome in living RBD-patients and age-matched controls. Interestingly, in RBD-patients we detected structural-connectivity-changes within the brainstem in line with the pathophysiology of RBD in animal-models.

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