Giulia Bommarito

Università degli Studi di Genova, Genova, Liguria, Italy

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Publications (7)31.85 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To evaluate the neural basis of subjective fatigue in subjects with multiple sclerosis (MS) using a connectionist framework. Methods: Seventy seven subjects with relapsing-remitting MS were recruited in the study and underwent subjective fatigue evaluations and a diffusion MRI scan. Firstly, local white matter Fractional Anisotropy values were correlated with subjective fatigue scores using a voxel-wise approach. The long-range loss of connectivity due to structural damage in the white matter voxels thus associated with subjective fatigue was then assessed using the Network Modification (NeMo) package. Results: A voxel-wise regression analysis with fatigue scores revealed a significant association between structural damage and fatigue levels in two discrete white matter clusters, both included in the left cingulate bundle. The connectivity analysis revealed that damage in these clusters was associated with loss of structural connectivity in the anterior and medial cingulate cortices, dorsolateral prefrontal areas and in the left caudate. Discussion: Our data point to the cingulum bundle and its projections as the key network involved in subjective fatigue perception in MS. More generally, these results suggest the potential of the connectionist framework to generate coherent models of the neural basis of complex symptomatology in MS.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Multiple Sclerosis
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    ABSTRACT: Subjective and objective memory deficits represent a frequent and ill-understood aspect of multiple sclerosis (MS), and a significant cause of disability and quality of life reduction. The aim of the study is to verify the role of hippocampal and temporal associative fibers' damage in MS-related memory complaints. To reach this aim, 25 patients with low disability relapsing-remitting MS and 19 healthy controls were included in the study. All subjects underwent 3D T1 structural imaging and Diffusion Tensor Imaging. Additionally, MS patients underwent neuropsychological evaluation of objective (Selective Reminding Test and Spatial Recall Test) and of subjective (Perceived Deficit Questionnaire, Retrospective and Prospective Memory Subscales) memory deficits. Normalized hippocampal volume (NHV) and mean Fractional Anisotropy (FA) for the uncinate fasciculus (UF) and for the ventral division of the cingulum bundle (VCB) were calculated for all subjects. We showed that, compared to controls, MS subjects presented with reduced right NHV and with reduced mean FA bilaterally in the UF and the VCB. In the MS group, verbal memory scores correlated with left NHV, spatial memory scores correlated with right NHV, while perceived retrospective and prospective memory deficits correlated with left VCB and left UF mean FA respectively. Our data confirm an early involvement of memory-related brain structures in MS patients. Our data suggest that verbal and nonverbal memory as well as perceived retrospective and prospective memory deficits are related to alterations of discrete anatomical structures in the low-disability phase of MS. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Hippocampus

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Oct 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Although cerebrovascular mortality is increased up to eightfold in acromegaly, intracranial internal carotid artery (ICA) changes have not been well investigated. This is a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) quantitative cross-sectional study of ICA tortuosity, ectasia and intercarotid distance in acromegalic patients with subsequent analysis of concomitant clinical, laboratory and neuroimaging findings. One hundred seventy six acromegalic patients (mean-age 55 ± 14 years, age range 21-88, 92 females) and 104 subjects with headache or transient neurological deficits underwent MRA with the same 1.5 T scanner. Clinical data, laboratory and pituitary adenoma imaging findings were recorded. Using a commercially available software, we measured the tortuosity index [(curved/linear ICA length from C3-midpoint to intracranial bifurcation) - 1], ICA ectasia index (intracavernous/petrous ICA diameter) and intercarotid distance at C3 and C4 levels. Mean ICA tortuosity and ectasia indices were increased in acromegalic patients compared with controls (1.06 ± 0.29 vs 0.93 ± 0.26, p < 0.001; 1.02 ± 0.10 vs 0.92 ± 0.09, p < 0.001). Mean intercarotid distance was reduced at C3 and increased at C4 in acromegalic patients (16.7 ± 3.4 vs 17.9 ± 2.5 mm, p < 0.001; 16.7 ± 4.6 vs 15.4 ± 4.1 mm, p < 0.05; t test). ICA tortuosity and ectasia correlated neither with laboratory findings nor with previous or current treatment. On multivariate analysis, C3 intercarotid distance was reduced in patients on dopamine agonist treatment (p < 0.01) and increased in patients with GH-deficit (p = 0.01), while C4 intercarotid distance was increased with macroadenoma (p = 0.01) and reduced in patients under dopamine agonist (p < 0.01) or somatostatin analogue (p < 0.05) treatment. Intracranial ICA changes are common findings in acromegaly, and further studies focused on their possible clinical impact are needed.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Pituitary
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    ABSTRACT: Although body image disturbance is considered one of the core characteristics of anorexia nervosa (AN), the exact nature of this complex feature is poorly understood. Task-related functional magnetic resonance imaging studies can only partially explore the multimodal complexity of body consciousness, which is a complex cognition underpinned by aspects of visual perception, proprioception, and touch. The aim of the present study was to explore the functional connectivity of networks involved in visuospatial and somatosensory processing in AN. Twenty-nine subjects with AN, 16 women who had recovered from it, and 26 healthy women underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan and neuropsychological assessment of their visuospatial abilities using the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test. Both AN groups showed areas of decreased connectivity in the ventral visual network, a network involved in the "what?" pathway of visual perception. Even more interestingly, the AN group, but not the recovered AN group, displayed increased coactivation in the left parietal cortex, encompassing the somatosensory cortex, in an area implicated in long-term multimodal spatial memory and representation, even in the absence of visual information. A neuropsychological assessment of visuospatial abilities revealed that aspects of detail processing and global integration (central coherence) showed correlations with connectivity of this brain area in the AN group. Our findings show that AN is associated with double disruption of brain connectivity, which shows a specific association with visuospatial difficulties and may explain the failure of the integration process between visual and somatosensory perceptual information that might sustain body image disturbance.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Biological psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: Herniation of cerebellar tonsils (CTH) might occur in acromegaly patients and improve after acromegaly treatment. Our study investigated CTH prevalence in acromegaly, its relationship with clinical, laboratory and neuroimaging findings and its possible pathogenesis and clinical impact. 150 acromegaly patients (median-age 56 years, age-range 21-88, 83 females) underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Clinical data, laboratory and pituitary adenoma imaging findings were recorded. CTH, posterior cranial fossa area, tentorial angle, clivus, supraocciput and Twining's line length were measured in acromegaly patients and controls, who included MRI of 115 consecutive subjects with headache or transient neurological deficits (control group-1) and 24 symptomatic classic Chiari 1 malformation patients (control group-2). Acromegaly patients were interviewed for symptoms known to be related with CTH. 22/150 acromegaly patients (15 %) and 8/115 control group-1 subjects presented with CTH (p = 0.04). In acromegaly patients, CTH correlated positively with younger age and inversely with GH-receptor antagonist treatment. Control group-2 had a shorter clivus than CTH acromegaly patients (40.4 ± 3.2 mm vs 42.5 ± 3.3 mm, p < 0.05), while posterior fossa measures did not differ among acromegaly subgroups (with and without CTH) and control group-1. Headache and vision problems were more frequent in CTH acromegaly patients (p < 0.05); two acromegaly patients presented with imaging and neurological signs of syringomyelia. Despite no signs of posterior fossa underdevelopment or cranial constriction, CTH is more frequent in acromegaly patients and seems to contribute to some disabling neurological symptoms.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Pituitary
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    ABSTRACT: The concurrence of intracranial aneurysms and acromegaly has been reported and debated previously. Our study in a large number of patients aimed to verify whether acromegaly patients carry a higher risk of harboring intracranial saccular aneurysms and to evaluate the possible relationship using clinical, laboratory, and imaging techniques. A total of 152 of 161 consecutive acromegaly patients (median age, 55.7 yr; 82 females) underwent neuroimaging evaluation of the circle of Willis. Clinical data (disease duration and disease control, hypertension, smoking history, diabetes and dyslipidemia, previous surgery or radiotherapy, previous or current pharmacological therapy), laboratory findings (GH and IGF-I at onset and shortly before examination), and pituitary adenoma imaging features (size and invasiveness of the cavernous sinus) were recorded. Twenty-six patients (17.3%) harbored 40 newly diagnosed intracranial aneurysms; two other patients had previously undergone aneurysm clipping due to subarachnoid hemorrhage. Ten patients had multiple aneurysms; most of the aneurysms were located in the intracranial tract of the internal carotid artery (67.5%); no aneurysms belonged to the vertebrobasilar circulation. The presence of intracranial aneurysms correlated with GH serum values at disease onset (P < 0.05) and showed a trend to a positive correlation with poor disease control (P = 0.06); no other laboratory, clinical, and radiological findings correlated with the presence of intracranial aneurysms. GH serum excess seems to carry an increased risk of developing intracranial aneurysms. A neuroradiological evaluation of the intracranial circulation might therefore be considered in the diagnostic work-up of patients affected with acromegaly.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism