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Lancet Neurol. 2011 Sep;10(9):829-43. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(11)70158-2. Epub 2011 Jul 21.

Functional network disruption in the degenerative dementias.

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Laboratory of Epidemiology, Neuroimaging, and Telemedicine, IRCCS Centro San Giovanni di Dio, Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy.


Despite advances towards understanding the molecular pathophysiology of the neurodegenerative dementias, the mechanisms linking molecular changes to neuropathology and neuropathological changes to clinical symptoms remain largely obscure. Connectivity is a distinctive feature of the brain and the integrity of functional network dynamics is crucial for normal functioning. A better understanding of network disruption in the neurodegenerative dementias might help bridge the gap between molecular changes, pathological changes, and symptoms. Recent findings on functional network disruption as assessed with resting-state or intrinsic connectivity functional MRI and electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography have shown distinct patterns of network disruption across the major neurodegenerative diseases. These network abnormalities are somewhat specific to the clinical syndromes and, in Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia, network disruption tracks the pattern of pathological changes. These findings might have practical implications for diagnostic accuracy, allowing earlier detection of neurodegenerative diseases even at the presymptomatic stage, and tracking of disease progression.

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