Sensitivity of structural connectivity in patients with ALS

Isabella Radl

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


Although the brain is one of the most complex and investigated systems, its underlying structural relations and related functions are still not fully resolved. Structural connectivity is a novel field of research which models the complexity and interaction of distinct regions of the brain
mathematically - as a network.
The aim of this thesis was to investigate structural connectivity in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), its relation to normal brain, and whether it bears the potential as an additional marker for diagnosis and disease progression. Therefore structural connectivity was investigated with methods of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging at 3T and the structural networks were further analyzed with methods of graph theory to assess differences between 31 patients with ALS and 34 controls.Group analysis found a region of different connectivity between ALS and controls, which spatially overlapped with the right corticospinal-tract. Additionally the strength of structural connectivity correlated with ALS disease progression (r = 0.4).
In conclusion, the analysis of structural connectivity identified disease related changes in a subnetwork of the brain and revealed a novel marker for disease progression. The location of this subnetwork extends well-known findings in the mesencephalic corticospinal-tract by an additional involvement of cortical regions.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Science
Awarding Institution
  • Graz University of Technology (90000)
  • Stollberger, Rudolf, Supervisor
  • Langkammer, Christian, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Connectomics
  • ALS
  • brain networks
  • structural connectivity
  • graph theory


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