Visual short-term memory binding tasks are a promising early biomarker for Alzheimer's disease (AD). We probe the transient physiological underpinnings of these tasks over the healthy brain's functional connectome by contrasting shape only (Shape) and shape-colour binding (Bind) conditions, displayed in the left and right sides of the screen, separately, in young volunteers. Electroencephalogram recordings during the encoding and maintenance periods of these tasks are analysed using functional connectomics. Particularly, we introduce and implement a novel technique named Modular Dirichlet Energy (MDE) which allows robust and flexible analysis of the connectome with unprecedentedly high temporal precision. We find that connectivity in the Bind condition is stronger than in the Shape condition in both occipital and frontal network modules during the encoding period of the right screen condition but not the left screen condition. Using MDE we are able to discern driving effects in the occipital module between 100-140ms, which noticeably coincides with the P100 visually evoked potential, and a driving effect in the interaction of occipital and frontal modules between 120-140ms, suggesting a delayed information processing difference between these modules. This provides temporally precise information over a heterogenous population for tasks related to the sensitive and specific detection of AD.
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|Published - 8 Jun 2016