Small-World Characteristics of Cortical Connectivity Changes in Acute Stroke

Pietro Caliandro, Fabrizio Vecchio, Francesca Miraglia, Giuseppe Reale, Giacomo Della Marca, Giuseppe La Torre, Giordano Lacidogna, Chiara Iacovelli, Luca Padua, Placido Bramanti, Paolo Maria Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. After cerebral ischemia, disruption and subsequent reorganization of functional connections occur both locally and remote to the lesion. Recently, complexity of brain connectivity has been described using graph theory, a mathematical approach that depicts important properties of complex systems by quantifying topologies of network representations. Functional and dynamic changes of brain connectivity can be reliably analyzed via electroencephalography (EEG) recordings even when they are not yet reflected in structural changes of connections. Objective. We tested whether and how ischemic stroke in the acute stage may determine changes in small-worldness of cortical networks as measured by cortical sources of EEG. Methods. Graph characteristics of EEG of 30 consecutive stroke patients in acute stage (no more than 5 days after the event) were examined. Connectivity analysis was performed using eLORETA in both hemispheres. Results. Network rearrangements were mainly detected in delta, theta, and alpha bands when patients were compared with healthy subjects. In delta and alpha bands similar findings were observed in both hemispheres regardless of the side of ischemic lesion: bilaterally decreased small-worldness in the delta band and bilaterally increased small-worldness in the alpha2 band. In the theta band, bilaterally decreased small-worldness was observed only in patients with stroke in the left hemisphere. Conclusions. After an acute stroke, brain cortex rearranges its network connections diffusely, in a frequency-dependent modality probably in order to face the new anatomical and functional frame.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • connectivity
  • cortex
  • electroencephalography
  • graph theory
  • plasticity
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Small-World Characteristics of Cortical Connectivity Changes in Acute Stroke'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this