Modeling disease progression through the cognitive scores has become an attractive challenge in the field of computational neuroscience due to its importance for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Several scores such as Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale cognitive total score, Mini Mental State Exam score and Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test provide a quantitative assessment of the cognitive conditions of the patients and are commonly used as objective criteria for clinical diagnosis of dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). On the other hand, connectivity patterns extracted from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) have been successfully used to classify AD and MCI subjects with machine learning algorithms proving their potential application in the clinical setting. In this work, we carried out a pilot study to investigate the strength of association between DTI structural connectivity of a mixed ADNI cohort and cognitive spectrum in AD. We developed a machine learning framework to find a generalized cognitive score that summarizes the different functional domains reflected by each cognitive clinical index and to identify the connectivity biomarkers more significantly associated with the score. The results indicate that the efficiency and the centrality of some regions can effectively track cognitive impairment in AD showing a significant correlation with the generalized cognitive score (R = 0.7).
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