A Systematic Review of Investigations into Functional Brain Connectivity Following Spinal Cord Injury

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Abstract

Background: Complete or incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) results in varying degree of motor, sensory and autonomic impairment. Long-lasting, often irreversible disability results from disconnection of efferent and afferent pathways. How does this disconnection affect brain function is not so clear. Changes in brain organization and structure have been associated with SCI and have been extensively studied and reviewed. Yet, our knowledge regarding brain connectivity changes following SCI is overall lacking.

Methods: In this study we conduct a systematic review of articles regarding investigations of functional brain networks following SCI, searching on PubMed, Scopus and ScienceDirect according to PRISMA-P 2015 statement standards.

Results: Changes in brain connectivity have been shown even during the early stages of the chronic condition and correlate with the degree of neurological impairment. Connectivity changes appear as dynamic post-injury procedures. Sensorimotor networks of patients and healthy individuals share similar patterns but new functional interactions have been identified as unique to SCI networks.

Conclusions: Large-scale, multi-modal, longitudinal studies on SCI patients are needed to understand how brain network reorganization is established and progresses through the course of the condition. The expected insight holds clinical relevance in preventing maladaptive plasticity after SCI through individualized neurorehabilitation, as well as the design of connectivity-based brain-computer interfaces and assistive technologies for SCI patients.

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  • A Systematic Review of Investigations into Functional Brain Connectivity

    Rights statement: Copyright © 2017 Athanasiou, Klados, Pandria, Foroglou, Kavazidi, Polyzoidis and Bamidis. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number517
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2017

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2017 Athanasiou, Klados, Pandria, Foroglou, Kavazidi, Polyzoidis and Bamidis. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Funding: European Union’s Horizon 2020 UNCAP project (grant number 643555). This study was conducted in the context of the project CSI:Brainwave (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02443558; http://medphys.med.auth.gr/content/csi-brainwave) that was partially supported by the 2013 Mario Boni Research Grant, awarded by the European Section of Cervical Spine Research Society (CSRS-ES).

    Keywords

  • brain connectivity, brain network, cortical connectivity, cortical network, maladaptive plasticity, network reorganization, sensorimotor network, spinal cord injury

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