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Neural networks 'identified in dementia patients'

Neural networks 'identified in dementia patients'
24th August 2009

Dementia patients and the relationships in their neural networks have been identified in a new study.

Scientists at the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam used a mathematical method known as graph theory to evaluate communications between different parts of the brain.

Those patients with Alzheimer's disease and dementia were seen to demonstrate more random and unstructured deviation between local specialisation and global integration, highlighting the "disconnection syndrome" previously associated with the conditions.

Willem de Haan, the lead researcher of the report, explained: "By applying concepts from this theory to brain recordings, we can study the dynamic and distributed nature of mental activities.

"The underlying idea is that cognitive dysfunction can be illustrated by, and perhaps even explained by, a disturbed functional organisation of the whole brain network".

Last week, the Mental Health Foundation said it is aiming to make support available through such things as individual budgets to dementia patients following the provision of the Health & Social Care Act 2008.

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