Andrea Falini

Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

Are you Andrea Falini?

Claim your profile

Publications (255)1365.39 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is characterized by extremely variable degrees of facial, scapular and lower limb muscle involvement. Clinical and genetic determination can be difficult, as molecular analysis is not always definitive, and other similar muscle disorders may have overlapping clinical manifestations. Whole-body muscle MRI examination for fat infiltration, atrophy and oedema was performed to identify specific patterns of muscle involvement in FSHD patients (30 subjects), and compared to a group of control patients (23) affected by other myopathies (NFSHD). In FSHD patients, we detected a specific pattern of muscle fatty replacement and atrophy, particularly in upper girdle muscles. The most frequently affected muscles, including paucisymptomatic and severely affected FSHD patients, were trapezius, teres major and serratus anterior. Moreover, asymmetric muscle involvement was significantly higher in FSHD as compared to NFSHD patients. In conclusion, muscle MRI is very sensitive for identifying a specific pattern of involvement in FSHD patients and in detecting selective muscle involvement of non-clinically testable muscles. Muscle MRI constitutes a reliable tool for differentiating FSHD from other muscular dystrophies to direct diagnostic molecular analysis, as well as to investigate FSHD natural history and follow-up of the disease. • Muscle MRI identifies a specific pattern of muscle involvement in FSHD patients. • Muscle MRI may predict FSHD in asymptomatic and severely affected patients. • Muscle MRI of upper girdle better predicts FSHD. • Muscle MRI may differentiate FSHD from other forms of muscular dystrophy. • Muscle MRI may show the involvement of non-clinical testable muscles.
    European Radiology 06/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00330-015-3890-1 · 4.34 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose To assess white matter (WM) tract damage in patients with atypical Alzheimer disease (AD), including early-onset AD (EOAD), logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA), and posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), by using diffusion-tensor magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and to identify similarities and differences across the AD spectrum. Materials and Methods This study was approved by the local ethical committees on human studies, and written informed consent from all subjects was obtained prior to enrollment. WM tract damage and cortical atrophy were assessed by using diffusion-tensor MR imaging and voxel-based morphometry, respectively, in 28 patients with EOAD, 12 patients with lvPPA, and 13 patients with PCA relative to age- and sex-matched healthy subjects. Conjunction and interaction analyses were used to define overlapping and syndrome-specific patterns of brain damage. Results Patients with EOAD, lvPPA, and PCA shared a common pattern of WM damage that involved the body of the corpus callosum, fornix, and main anterior-posterior pathways (P < .05). They also shared cortical atrophy of the left temporoparietal regions and precuneus (P < .05, family-wise error corrected). Patients with EOAD also had specific damage to the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum and parahippocampal tract bilaterally (P < .05). In all patients with AD, particularly in the two focal forms (lvPPA and PCA), WM damage was more severe and widely distributed than expected on the basis of cortical atrophy. Conclusion In atypical AD clinical phenotypes, the distribution of WM damage exceeds cortical atrophy and may reflect the pathologic dissemination through structural connections from atrophic to unaffected cortical regions. WM degeneration may be an early marker of AD pathologic changes in EOAD and focal AD forms. (©) RSNA, 2015 Online supplemental material is available for this article.
    Radiology 05/2015; DOI:10.1148/radiol.2015142766 · 6.21 Impact Factor
  • Physiotherapy 05/2015; 101:e447-e448. DOI:10.1016/ · 2.11 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have shown a widespread disruption of white matter (WM) microstructure in schizophrenia. Furthermore, higher fractional anisotropy (FA) has been consistently correlated with the severity of psychotic symptoms. Antipsychotic drugs (APDs) affect lipid homeostasis. Gene polymorphisms in sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor (SREBF)-1 and SREBF-2 have been associated with schizophrenia. In a sample of 65 patients affected by chronic schizophrenia, we investigated the effect of ongoing APD medication, SREBF-1 rs11868035 polymorphism and SREBF-2 rs1052717 polymorphism on the WM microstructure, using tract-based spatial statistics with threshold-free cluster enhancement. We reported increased FA associated with the risk rs11868035 G/G genotype in several WM tracts, mainly located in the left hemisphere, and opposite effects of the APD medication load, with reduced FA and generally increased diffusivity. These opposite effects overlapped in the forceps minor, cingulum, uncinate fasciculus, the superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi, the corticospinal tract, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus and the anterior thalamic radiation. We suggest that changes of WM structure could be an as yet poorly explored biomarker of the effects of APDs, to be further investigated in prospective studies correlating long-term clinical effects with changes of DTI measures in specific WM tracts contributing to the functional integrity of the brain. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Neuropsychobiology 04/2015; 71(2):112-119. DOI:10.1159/000370076 · 2.30 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Using advanced MRI techniques, we investigated the presence and topographical distribution of brain grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) alterations in dominant optic atrophy (DOA) patients with genetically proven OPA1 mutation as well as their correlation with clinical and neuro-ophthalmologic findings. Nineteen DOA patients underwent neurological, neuro-ophthalmologic and brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP) evaluations. Voxel-wise methods were applied to assess regional GM and WM abnormalities in patients compared to 20 healthy controls. Visual acuity was reduced in 16 patients. Six DOA patients (4 with missense mutations) had an abnormal I peripheral component (auditory nerve) at BAEP. Compared to controls, DOA patients had significant atrophy of the optic nerves (p < 0.0001). Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis showed that, compared to controls, DOA patients had significant WM atrophy of the chiasm and optic tracts; whereas no areas of GM atrophy were found. Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) analysis showed that compared to controls, DOA patients had significantly lower mean diffusivity, axial and radial diffusivity in the WM of the cerebellum, brainstem, thalamus, fronto-occipital-temporal lobes, including the cingulum, corpus callosum, corticospinal tract and optic radiation bilaterally. No abnormalities of fractional anisotropy were detected. No correlations were found between volumetric and diffusivity abnormalities quantified with MRI and clinical and neuro-ophthalmologic measures of disease severity. Consistently with pathological studies, tissue loss in DOA patients is limited to anterior optic pathways reflecting retinal ganglion cell degeneration. Distributed abnormalities of diffusivity indexes might reflect abnormal intracellular mitochondrial morphology as well as alteration of protein levels due to OPA1 mutations.
    Journal of Neurology 03/2015; 262(5). DOI:10.1007/s00415-015-7696-5 · 3.84 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Diffusion tensor (DT) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides several quantities with the potential to disclose white matter (WM) microstructural abnormalities. We explored alterations of WM architecture in pediatric migraine patients using DT MRI and two different methods of analysis. Dual-echo and DT MRI scans were acquired from 15 pediatric migraine patients and 15 age-matched controls. Whole-brain voxel-wise comparisons of WM DT MRI abnormalities were performed using tract-based-spatial-statistics (TBSS). A DT probabilistic tractography analysis was also run. Both TBSS and DT tractography analysis showed that, compared to controls, pediatric migraine patients had significant lower mean (MD), axial (AD) and radial (RD) diffusivity of WM tracts located in the brainstem, thalamus and fronto-temporo-occipital lobes, bilaterally. Patients also experienced increased fractional anisotropy (FA) of the optic radiations. No correlation was found between WM tract abnormalities and disease duration and attack frequency. Pediatric migraine patients harbor diffuse brain WM microstructural abnormalities. High FA and low MD, AD and RD in these patients might be explained by repeated neuronal activation, which may lead to cell swelling and stimulate activity-dependent myelin-modulation, or by increased fiber and dendritic densities. Both these mechanisms might reflect a hyperexcitability of the brain in migraineurs. © International Headache Society 2015 Reprints and permissions:
    Cephalalgia 03/2015; DOI:10.1177/0333102415578428 · 4.12 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To identify overlapping and unique grey (GM) and white matter (WM) signatures within the frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) continuum, and discriminate likely FTLD-TAU and FTLD-TDP patients using structural and diffusion tensor (DT) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). T1-weighted and DT MRI were collected from 121 subjects: 35 motor neuron disease (MND), 14 behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia, 12 semantic and 11 nonfluent primary progressive aphasia, 21 progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome patients, and 28 healthy controls. Patterns of GM atrophy were established using voxel-based morphometry. Tract-based spatial statistics was used to perform a WM voxelwise analysis of mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy. In all clinical FTLD phenotypes, the pattern of WM damage was more distributed than that of GM atrophy. All patient groups, with the exception of MND cases with a pure motor syndrome, shared a focal GM atrophy centered around the dorsolateral and medial frontal cortex and a largely overlapping pattern of WM damage involving the genu and body of the corpus callosum and ventral frontotemporal and dorsal frontoparietal WM pathways. Surrounding this common area, phenotype (symptom)-specific GM and WM regions of damage were found in each group. In the FTLD spectrum, WM disruption is more severe than GM damage. Frontal cortex and WM pathways represent the common target of neurodegeneration in these conditions. The topographic pattern of damage supports a "prion-like" protein propagation through WM connections as underlying mechanism of the stereotyped progression of FTLD. Hum Brain Mapp, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 03/2015; DOI:10.1002/hbm.22794 · 6.92 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose To test a multimodal magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-based approach composed of cortical thickness and white matter (WM) damage metrics to discriminate between variants of primary progressive aphasia (PPA) that are nonfluent and/or agrammatic (NFVPPA) and semantic (SVPPA). Materials and Methods This study was approved by the local ethics committees on human studies, and written informed consent from all patients was obtained before their enrollment. T1-weighted and diffusion-tensor (DT) MR images were obtained from 13 NFVPPA patients, 13 SVPPA patients, and 23 healthy control participants. Cortical thickness and DT MR imaging indices from the long-associative and interhemispheric WM tracts were obtained. A random forest (RF) analysis was used to identify the image features associated with each clinical syndrome. Individual patient classification was performed by using receiver operator characteristic curve analysis with cortical thickness, DT MR imaging, and a combination of the two modalities. Results RF analysis showed that the best markers to differentiate the two PPA variants at an individual patient level among cortical thickness and DT MR imaging metrics were diffusivity abnormalities of the left inferior longitudinal and uncinate fasciculi and cortical thickness measures of the left temporal pole and inferior frontal gyrus. A combination of cortical thickness and DT MR imaging measures (the so-called gray-matter-and-WM model) was able to distinguish patients with NFVPPA and SVPPA with the following classification pattern: area under the curve, 0.91; accuracy, 0.89; sensitivity, 0.92; specificity, 0.85. Leave-one-out analysis demonstrated that the gray matter and WM model is more robust than the single MR modality models to distinguish PPA variants (accuracy was 0.86, 0.73, and 0.68 for the gray matter and WM model, the gray matter-only model, and the WM-only model, respectively). Conclusion A combination of structural and DT MR imaging metrics may provide a quantitative procedure to distinguish NFVPPA and SVPPA patients at an individual patient level. The discrimination accuracies obtained suggest that the gray matter and WM model is potentially relevant for the differential diagnosis of the PPA variants in clinical practice. (©) RSNA, 2015 Online supplemental material is available for this article.
    Radiology 02/2015; DOI:10.1148/radiol.15141869 · 6.21 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Impaired emotional processing is a core feature of schizophrenia (SZ). Consistent findings suggested that abnormal emotional processing in SZ could be paralleled by a disrupted functional and structural integrity within the fronto-limbic circuitry. The effective connectivity of emotional circuitry in SZ has never been explored in terms of causal relationship between brain regions. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and Dynamic Causal Modeling (DCM) to characterize effective connectivity during implicit processing of affective stimuli in SZ. We performed DCM to model connectivity between amygdala (Amy), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), ventral prefrontal cortex (VPFC), fusiform gyrus (FG) and visual cortex (VC) in 25 patients with SZ and 29 HC. Bayesian Model Selection and average were performed to determine the optimal structural model and its parameters. Analyses revealed that patients with SZ are characterized by a significant reduced top-down endogenous connectivity from DLPFC to Amy, an increased connectivity from Amy to VPFC and a decreased driving input to Amy of affective stimuli compared to HC. Furthermore, DLPFC to Amy connection in patients significantly influenced the severity of psychopathology as rated on Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Results suggest a functional disconnection in brain network that contributes to the symptomatic outcome of the disorder. Our findings support the study of effective connectivity within cortico-limbic structures as a marker of severity and treatment efficacy in SZ. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.
    European Psychiatry 02/2015; 30(5). DOI:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2015.01.002 · 3.21 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose To investigate whether specific patterns of brain gray matter (GM) regional volumes and white matter (WM) microstructural abnormalities and spinal cord atrophy occur in patients with pure and complicated hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs). Relationships between clinical and cognitive features of patients with HSP who had brain and cervical cord damage were also investigated. Materials and Methods This study was approved by the local ethical committees on human studies, and written informed consent from all subjects was obtained prior to enrollment. Forty-four patients with HSP (20 genetically defined cases and 24 without genetic diagnosis) and 19 healthy control subjects underwent clinical, neuropsychological, and advanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging evaluations. Patterns of GM atrophy and WM microstructural damage obtained by using structural and diffusion-tensor MR imaging were compared between groups. Cervical cord atrophy was also assessed by using an active surface method. Correlations between clinical, cognitive, and diffusion-tensor MR imaging measures were evaluated. Results Clinical data showed that spastic paraplegia is accompanied by a number of other features, including sensory disturbances, and verbal and spatial memory deficits, not only in complicated HSP but also in pure HSP. MR imaging demonstrated a similar involvement of motor, association, and cerebellar WM pathways (P < .05, family-wise error corrected for multiple comparisons) and cervical cord (P < .001) in patients with HSP relative to healthy control subjects, regardless of their clinical picture. The severity of WM damage correlated with the degree of spasticity (P < .05, family-wise error corrected) and cognitive impairment (r values, -0.39 to 0.51; P values, .001-.05) in both pure and complicated HSP. Conclusion The detection of a distributed pattern of central nervous system damage in patients with pure and complicated HSP suggests that the "primary" corticospinal tract involvement known to occur in these patients may be associated with a neurodegenerative process, which spreads out to extramotor regions, likely via anatomic connections. This observation is in line with emerging pieces of evidence that, independent of the clinical phenotype, there is a common neurodegenerative cascade shared by different neurologic disorders. (©) RSNA, 2015 Online supplemental material is available for this article.
    Radiology 01/2015; DOI:10.1148/radiol.14141715 · 6.21 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Naming abilities are typically preserved in amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI), a condition associated with increased risk of progression to Alzheimer's disease (AD). We compared the functional correlates of covert picture naming and word reading between a group of aMCI subjects and matched controls. Unimpaired picture naming performance was associated with more extensive activations, in particular involving the parietal lobes, in the aMCI group. In addition, in the condition associated with higher processing demands (blocks of categorically homogeneous items, living items), increased activity was observed in the aMCI group, in particular in the left fusiform gyrus. Graph analysis provided further evidence of increased modularity and reduced integration for the homogenous sets in the aMCI group. The functional modifications associated with preserved performance may reflect, in the case of more demanding tasks, compensatory mechanisms for the subclinical involvement of semantic processing areas by AD pathology.
    Neuropsychologia 01/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.01.009 · 3.45 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We investigated the contribution of cortical lesions to cognitive impairment in 41 paediatric MS patients. Thirteen (32%) paediatric MS patients were considered as cognitively impaired. T2-hyperintense and T1-hypointense white matter lesion volumes did not differ between cognitively impaired and cognitively preserved MS patients. Cortical lesions number, cortical lesions volume and grey matter volume did not differ between cognitively impaired and cognitively preserved patients, whereas white matter volume was significantly lower in cognitively impaired versus cognitively preserved MS patients (p=0.01). Contrary to adult MS, cortical lesions do not seem to contribute to cognitive impairment in paediatric MS patients, which is likely driven by white matter damage.
    Multiple Sclerosis 11/2014; 21(7). DOI:10.1177/1352458514557303 · 4.86 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Rationale Lithium is the mainstay for the treatment of bipolar disorder (BD) and inhibits glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β). The less active GSK-3β promoter gene variants have been associated with less detrimental clinical features of BD. GSK-3β gene variants and lithium can influence brain gray and white matter structure in psychiatric conditions, so we studied their combined effect in BD. Objectives The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of ongoing long-term lithium treatment and GSK-3β promoter rs334558 polymorphism on regional gray matter (GM) volumes of patients with BD. Materials and methods GM volumes were estimated with 3.0 Tesla MRI in 150 patients affected by a major depressive episode in course of BD. Duration of lifetime lithium treatment was retrospectively assessed. Analyses were performed by searching for significant effects of lithium and rs334558 in the whole brain. Results The less active GSK-3β rs334558*G gene promoter variant and the long-term administration of lithium were synergistically associated with increased GM volumes in the right frontal lobe, in a large cluster encompassing the boundaries of subgenual and orbitofrontal cortex (including Brodmann areas 25, 11, and 47). Effects of lithium on GM revealed in rs334558*G carriers only, consistent with previously reported clinical effects in these genotype groups, and were proportional to the duration of treatment. Conclusions Lithium and rs334558 influenced GM volumes in areas critical for the generation and control of affect, which have been widely implicated in the process of BD pathophysiology. In the light of the protective effects of lithium on white matter integrity, our results suggest that the clinical effects of lithium associate with a neurotrophic effect on the whole brain, probably mediated by GSK-3β inhibition.
    Psychopharmacology 10/2014; 232(7). DOI:10.1007/s00213-014-3770-4 · 3.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mirror neurons, originally described in the monkey premotor area F5, are embedded in a frontoparietal network for action execution and observation. A similar Mirror Neuron System (MNS) exists in humans, including precentral gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, and superior temporal sulcus. Controversial is the inclusion of Broca's area, as homologous to F5, a relevant issue in light of the mirror hypothesis of language evolution, which postulates a key role of Broca's area in action/speech perception/production. We assess “mirror” properties of this area by combining neuroimaging and intraoperative neurophysiological techniques. Our results show that Broca's area is minimally involved in action observation and has no motor output on hand or phonoarticulatory muscles, challenging its inclusion in the MNS. The presence of these functions in premotor BA6 makes this area the likely homologue of F5 suggesting that the MNS may be involved in the representation of articulatory rather than semantic components of speech. Hum Brain Mapp, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 10/2014; 36(3). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22682 · 6.92 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Aim of this study was to explore the topological organization of functional brain network connectivity in a large cohort of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and to assess whether its disruption contributes to disease clinical manifestations. Graph theoretical analysis was applied to resting state fMRI data from 246 MS patients and 55 matched healthy controls (HC). Functional connectivity between 116 cortical and subcortical brain regions was estimated using a bivariate correlation analysis. Global network properties (network degree, global efficiency, hierarchy, path length and assortativity) were abnormal in MS patients vs HC, and contributed to distinguish cognitively impaired MS patients (34 %) from HC, but not the main MS clinical phenotypes. Compared to HC, MS patients also showed: (1) a loss of hubs in the superior frontal gyrus, precuneus and anterior cingulum in the left hemisphere; (2) a different lateralization of basal ganglia hubs (mostly located in the left hemisphere in HC, and in the right hemisphere in MS patients); and (3) a formation of hubs, not seen in HC, in the left temporal pole and cerebellum. MS patients also experienced a decreased nodal degree in the bilateral caudate nucleus and right cerebellum. Such a modification of regional network properties contributed to cognitive impairment and phenotypic variability of MS. An impairment of global integration (likely to reflect a reduced competence in information exchange between distant brain areas) occurs in MS and is associated with cognitive deficits. A regional redistribution of network properties contributes to cognitive status and phenotypic variability of these patients.
    Brain Structure and Function 09/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00429-014-0896-4 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • The Journal of Headache and Pain 09/2014; 15(Suppl 1):E18-E18. DOI:10.1186/1129-2377-15-S1-E18 · 3.28 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is commonly associated with cognitive and functional deficits, some of which are resolved after continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. The investigation of brain structural changes before and after treatment could provide deep insights into the pathogenesis and the reversibility of this disorder. We hypothesized that severe OSA patients would have altered white matter (WM) integrity and cognition and that treatment would improve both the structural damage and the cognitive impairment.
    Sleep 09/2014; 37(9). DOI:10.5665/sleep.3994 · 5.06 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) is characterized by basic visual and high order visual-spatial dysfunctions. In this study, we investigated long-distance deafferentation processes within the frontal-parietal-occipital network in ten PCA patients using a MRI-PET combined approach. Objective voxel-based [18F]FDG-PET imaging measured metabolic changes in single patients. Comprehensive investigation of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics and grey-matter density with voxel-based morphometry were obtained in a subgroup of 6 patients. Fractional anisotropy in the superior longitudinal fasciculus correlated with the PET metabolic changes within the inferior parietal and frontal eye field regions. [18F]FDG-PET analysis showed in each PCA case the typical bilateral hypometabolic pattern, involving posterior temporal, parietal, and occipital cortex, with additional hypometabolic foci in the frontal eye fields. Voxel-based morphometry showed right-sided atrophy in the parieto-occipital cortex, as well as a limited temporal involvement. DTI revealed extensive degeneration of the major anterior-posterior connecting fiber bundles and of commissural frontal lobe tracts. Microstructural measures in the superior longitudinal fasciculus were correlated with the PET metabolic changes within the inferior parietal and frontal eye field regions. Our results confirmed the predominant occipital-temporal and occipital-parietal degeneration in PCA patients. [18F]FDG-PET and DTI-MRI combined approaches revealed neurodegeneration effects well beyond the classical posterior cortical involvement, most likely as a consequence of deafferentation processes within the occipital-parietal-frontal network that could be at the basis of visuo-perceptual, visuo-spatial integration and attention deficits in PCA.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 08/2014; DOI:10.3233/JAD-141275 · 3.61 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction The DCDC2 gene is involved in neuronal migration. Heterotopias have been found within the white matter of DCDC2-knockdown rats. A deletion in DCDC2/intron 2 (DCDC2d), which encompasses a regulatory region named ‘regulatory element associated with dyslexia 1’ (READ1), increases the risk for dyslexia. We hypothesized that DCDC2d can be associated to alterations of the white matter structure in general and in dyslexic brains. Methods Based on a full factorial ANCOVA model, we investigated Voxel Based-Diffusion Tensor Imaging data of 4 groups of subjects: dyslexia with/without DCDC2d, and normal readers with/without DCDC2d. We also tested DCDC2d effects upon correlation patterns between fractional anisotropy (FA) and reading scores. Results We found that FA was reduced in the left arcuate fasciculus and splenium of the corpus callosum in subjects with versus without DCDC2d, irrespective of dyslexia. Subjects with dyslexia and DCDC2d showed reduced FA, mainly in the left hemisphere and in the corpus callosum; their counterpart without DCDC2d showed similar FA alterations. Noteworthy, a conjunction analysis in impaired readers revealed common regions with lower FA mainly in the left hemisphere. When we compared subjects with dyslexia with versus without DCDC2d, we found lower FA in the inferior longitudinal fasciculus and genu of the corpus callosum, bilaterally. Normal readers with versus without DCDC2d had FA increases and decreases in both the right and left hemisphere. Discussion The major contribution of our study was to provide evidence relating genes, brain and behaviour. Overall, our findings support the hypothesis that DCDC2d is associated with altered FA. In normal readers, DCDC2-related anatomical patterns may mark some developmental cognitive vulnerability to learning disabilities. In subjects with dyslexia, DCDC2d accounted for both common – mainly located in the left hemisphere – and unique – a more severe and extended pattern – alterations of white matter fibre tracts.
    Cortex 08/2014; 57. DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2014.04.016 · 6.04 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Active motor functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have shown that pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS) patients have a strictly lateralized pattern of activations and a preserved functional connectivity (FC) within the motor system when compared to age-matched healthy controls. However, it is still not clear whether a preserved FC in pediatric MS is present only in the motor system, or involves other relevant functional system. Resting-state (RS) fMRI is a valuable tool for an unbiased investigation of FC abnormalities of multiple networks. This study explored abnormalities of RS FC within and between large-scale neuronal networks from 44 pediatric MS patients and 27 controls and their correlation with clinical, neuropsychological, and conventional MRI measures. Compared to controls, pediatric MS patients had a decreased FC of several regions of the sensorimotor, secondary visual, default-mode (DMN), executive control, and bilateral working memory (WMN) networks. They also experienced an increased FC in the right medial frontal gyrus of the attention network, which was correlated with T2 lesion volume. Cognitively impaired patients had decreased RS FC of the right precuneus of the left WMN. An increased FC between the sensorimotor network and the DMN, and between the L WMN and the attention network as well as a decreased FC between L WMN and the DMN were also found. A distributed pattern of FC abnormalities within large-scale neuronal networks occurs in pediatric MS patients, contributes to their cognitive status, and is partially driven by focal white matter lesions. Internetwork connectivity is relatively preserved in these patients. Hum Brain Mapp, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 08/2014; 35(8). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22469 · 6.92 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
1,365.39 Total Impact Points


  • 2002–2015
    • Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
      • Faculty of Psychology
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2004–2014
    • University of Milan
      • Department of Neurological Sciences
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2001–2014
    • San Raffaele Scientific Institute
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2013
    • University of Leicester
      • Department of Cardiovascular Sciences
      Leiscester, England, United Kingdom
  • 2010
    • Università Telematica San Raffaele
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
    • Università degli Studi di Torino
      Torino, Piedmont, Italy
    • Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca
      • Department of Psychology
      Monza, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2008
    • Ospedale di San Raffaele Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2007
    • Università degli Studi di Palermo
      Palermo, Sicily, Italy
  • 2005
    • Second University of Naples
      Caserta, Campania, Italy
  • 1998
    • McGill University
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada