Veronica Maki-Marttunen*, Ibai Diez*, Jesus M. Cortes, Dante R. Chialvo and Mirta Villarreal (*Equal contribution). Disruption of transfer entropy and inter-hemispheric brain functional connectivity in patients with disorder of consciousness. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics 7:24, 2013 [pdf]
Severe traumatic brain injury can lead to disorders of consciousness (DOC) characterized by deficit in conscious awareness and cognitive impairment including coma, vegetative state, minimally consciousness, and lock-in syndrome. Of crucial importance is to find objective markers that can account for the large-scale disturbances of brain function to help the diagnosis and prognosis of DOC patients and eventually the prediction of the coma outcome. Following recent studies suggesting that the functional organization of brain networks can be altered in comatose patients, this work analyzes brain functional connectivity (FC) networks obtained from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). Two approaches are used to estimate the FC: the Partial Correlation (PC) and the Transfer Entropy (TE). Both the PC and the TE show significant statistical differences between the group of patients and control subjects; in brief, the inter-hemispheric PC and the intra-hemispheric TE account for such differences. Overall, these results suggest two possible rs-fMRI markers useful to design new strategies for the management and neuropsychological rehabilitation of DOC patients.