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In Parkinson's disease (PD) cell loss in the substantia nigra is known to result in motor symptoms; however widespread pathological changes occur and may be associated with non-motor symptoms such as cognitive impairment. Diffusion tensor imaging is a quantitative imaging method sensitive to the micro-structure of white matter tracts.
To measure fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) values in the corpus callosum and cingulum pathways, defined by diffusion tensor tractography, in patients with PD, PD with dementia (PDD) and controls and to determine if these measures correlate with Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) scores in parkinsonian patients.
Patients with PD (17 Males [M], 12 Females [F]), mild PDD (5 M, 1F) and controls (8 M, 7F) underwent cognitive testing and MRI scans. The corpus callosum was divided into four regions and the cingulum into two regions bilaterally to define tracts using the program DTIstudio (Johns Hopkins University) using the fiber assignment by continuous tracking algorithm. Volumetric MRI scans were used to measure white and gray matter volumes.
Groups did not differ in age or education. There were no overall FA or MD differences between groups in either the corpus callosum or cingulum pathways. In PD subjects the MMSE score correlated with MD within the corpus callosum. These findings were independent of age, sex and total white matter volume.
The data suggest that the corpus callosum or its cortical connections are associated with cognitive impairment in PD patients.
Significant changes in materials properties of siloxane based polymers can be obtained by the addition of inorganic fillers. In silica-filled polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) based composites the mechanism of this reinforcing behavior is presumably hydrogen bonding between surface hydroxyls and backbone siloxane species. We have chosen to investigate in detail the effect of chemisorbed (hydroxyls) and physisorbed water on the interfacial structure and dynamics in silica-filled PDMS based composites. Toward this end, we have combined molecular dynamics simulations and experimental studies employing DMA and NMR analysis. Our results suggest that the polymer-silica contact distance and the mobility of interfacial polymer chains significantly decreased as the hydration (hydroxyl and/or physisorbed water) level at the interface was reduced. The reduced mobility of the PDMS chains in the interfacial domain reduced the overall motional properties of the polymer, thus causing an effective "stiffening" of the polymer matrix. The role of the long-ranged Coulombic interactions on the structural features and chain dynamics of the polymer were also examined. Both are found to be strongly influenced by the electrostatic interactions as identified by the bond orientation time correlation function and local density distribution functions. These results have important implications for the design of nanocomposite silica-siloxane materials.
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