Shahed University

Identifying brain functional connectivity alterations during different stages of Alzheimer’s disease

Hessam Ahmadi | Emad Fatemizadeh | Ali Motie-Nasrabadi

Date :  2020/12/10
Publish in :    International Journal of Neuroscience
Link :
Keywords : Functional connectivity, Alzheimer’s disease, fMRI, graph theory, DMN network

Abstract :
Purpose: Alzheimers disease (AD) starts years before its signs and symptoms including the dementia become apparent. Diagnosis of the AD in the early stages is important to reduce the speed of brain decline. Aim of the study: Identifying the alterations in the functional connectivity of the brain during the disease stages is among the main important issues in this regard. Therefore, in this study, the changes in the functional connectivity during the AD stages were analyzed. Materials and methods: By employing the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data and graph theory, weighted undirected graphs of the whole-brain and default mode network (DMN) network were investigated individually in the early mild cognitive impairment (EMCI), late mild cognitive impairment (LMCI), AD, and control subjects. Results: In the whole-brain analysis, during one year of disease progression, no significant changes were observed in none of the study groups. However, the intergroup comparison showed that in different stages (from healthy to AD) the efficiencies, clustering coefficient, transitivity, and modularity of the brain network have significantly changed. In the DMN network analysis, the EMCI subjects demonstrated significant alterations but no significant changes were observed in other study groups. In the nodal analysis of the DMN, the participation, clustering, and degree were among the measures significantly changed with the AD progression. Conclusions: Functional connectivity alterations are more in the first stage of AD. Since AD progresses slowly whole brain alterations are not significant in one year but DMN exhibits significant changes. Cingulum anterior and posterior areas were the first affected regions of interest (ROI) in the DMN network afterwards, the frontal superior medial ROI was declined in the functional connectivity.