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Abnormal brain functional network dynamics in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients with depression.

Since depression is common in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients, we aimed to explore the specific brain functional network dynamics in ALS patients with depression (ALS-D) compared with healthy controls (HCs) and ALS patients without depressive symptoms (ALS-ND). According to the DSM-V, 32 ALS-D patients were selected from a large and newly diagnosed ALS cohort. Then, 32 demographic- and cognitive-matched ALS-ND patients were also selected, and 64 HCs were recruited. These participants underwent resting-state fMRI scans, and functional connectivity state analysis and dynamic graph theory were applied to evaluate brain functional network dynamics. Moreover, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) was used to quantify depressive symptoms in the ALS-D patients. Four distinct states were identified in the ALS-D patients and controls. Compared with that in HCs, the fraction rate (FR) in state 2 was significantly decreased in ALS-D patients, and the FR in state 4 was significantly increased in ALS-D patients. Compared with that of HCs, the dwell time in state 4 was significantly increased in the ALS-D patients. Moreover, compared with that in the ALS-D patients, the FR in state 3 was significantly decreased in the ALS-ND patients. Among the ALS-D patients, there was the suggestion of a positive association between HDRS scores and dwell time of state 4, but this association did not reach statistical significance (r = 0.354; p = 0.055). Depression is an important feature of ALS patients, and we found a special pattern of brain functional network dynamics in ALS-D patients. Our findings may play an important role in understanding the mechanism underlying depression in ALS patients and help develop therapeutic interventions for depressed ALS patients.

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