Network Analysis Of Intrinsic Functional Brain Connectivity In Alzheimer'S Disease

  • Supekar K
  • Rubin V
  • Greicius M
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Author Summary

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a brain
disorder characterized by progressive impairment of episodic memory
and other cognitive domains resulting in dementia and, ultimately,
death. Functional neuroimaging studies have identified brain regions
that show abnormal brain function in AD. Although there is converging
evidence about the identity of these regions, it is not clear how
this abnormality affects the functional organization of the whole
brain. In order to characterize the functional organization of the
brain, our approach uses small-world measures, which have also been
used to study systems such as social networks and the internet. We
use graph analytical methods to compute these measures of functional
connectivity brain networks, which are derived from fMRI data obtained
from healthy elderly controls and AD patients. The AD patients had
significantly lower regional connectivity, and showed disrupted global
functional organization, when compared to healthy controls. Moreover,
our results indicate that cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease
patients is associated with disrupted functional connectivity in
the entire brain. Our findings further suggest that small-world measures
may be useful as an imaging-based biomarker to distinguish AD from
healthy aging.

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  • K Supekar

  • V Menon D Rubin

  • M Musen M D Greicius

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