Resting state functional connectivity in movement disorders – noninvasive biomarkers of pathology (NEUROCON)

Project Coordinator: Dr. Eng. Liviu BADEA – Scientific Researcher I

Overall objectives of the project

  • The study of functional connectivity changes in critical brain areas involved in Parkinson's disease using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). Such changes in neural activation maps could be used as non-invasive differential diagnostic procedures to assist neurologists in establishing personalized therapies for patients.
  • The development of more refined algorithms for inferring connectivity maps.
  • The consolidation of an interdisciplinary research group involving neurologists, neuro-imaging and bioinformatics specialists.


  • The project created a multidisciplinary team in the field of functional imaging in neuroscience.
  • Applying group-independent component analysis (group-ICA) to determine the main neural networks, we performed one of the first studies of Parkinson’s disease related changes in all these networks as well as in the functional connectivities between these networks (using dual regression).
  • In order to verify the reproducibility of the functional connectivity changes in Parkinson's disease, we compared, for the first time, data from 3 independent studies (the present NEUROCON study, public data of the PPMI project, as well as data kindly provided by the research group of Tao Wu from China). This is the first comparison involving more than two independent rs-fMRI studies in Parkinson's disease.
  • The analysis of these independent data sets emphasized the complexity and functional heterogeneity of Parkinson's disease, which largely explains the low reproducibility between the various studies. However, it was possible to highlight some marginally significant changes in functional connectivity in all 3 studies analyzed, although it is necessary to further validate them on additional data sets.
  • All data from the present study is available in de-identified form in the FCP / INDI database (