Decreased Brain Structural Network Connectivity in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Novel Fractal Dimension Analysis

Chi Ieong Lau, Jiann Horng Yeh, Yuh Feng Tsai, Chen Yu Hsiao, Yu Te Wu*, Chi Wen Jao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is widely regarded to be the intermediate stage to Alzheimer’s disease. Cerebral morphological alteration in cortical subregions can provide an accurate predictor for early recognition of MCI. Thirty patients with MCI and thirty healthy control subjects participated in this study. The Desikan–Killiany cortical atlas was applied to segment participants’ cerebral cortex into 68 subregions. A complexity measure termed fractal dimension (FD) was applied to assess morphological changes in cortical subregions of participants. The MCI group revealed significantly decreased FD values in the bilateral temporal lobes, right parietal lobe including the medial temporal, fusiform, para hippocampal, and also the orbitofrontal lobes. We further proposed a novel FD-based brain structural network to compare network parameters, including intra- and inter-lobular connectivity between groups. The control group had five modules, and the MCI group had six modules in their brain networks. The MCI group demonstrated shrinkage of modular sizes with fewer components integrated, and significantly decreased global modularity in the brain network. The MCI group had lower intra- and inter-lobular connectivity in all lobes. Between cerebral lobes, the MCI patients may maintain nodal connections between both hemispheres to reduce connectivity loss in the lateral hemispheres. The method and results presented in this study could be a suitable tool for early detection of MCI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • brain structural network
  • cognitive function
  • fractal dimension
  • MCI


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