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Psychiatry Res. 2012 May 31;202(2):118-25. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2012.03.002. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Altered topological patterns of brain networks in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease: a resting-state fMRI study.

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  • 1Intelligent Medical Research Center, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190, China.


Recent studies have shown that cognitive and memory decline in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) is coupled with losses of small-world attributes. However, few studies have investigated the characteristics of the whole brain networks in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we investigated the topological properties of the whole brain networks in 18 AD patients, 16 MCI patients, and 18 age-matched healthy subjects. Among the three groups, AD patients showed the longest characteristic path lengths and the largest clustering coefficients, while the small-world measures of MCI networks exhibited intermediate values. The finding was not surprising, given that MCI is considered to be the prodromal stage of AD. Compared with normal controls, MCI patients showed decreased nodal centrality mainly in the medial temporal lobe as well as increased nodal centrality in the occipital regions. In addition, we detected increased nodal centrality in the medial temporal lobe and frontal gyrus, and decreased nodal centrality mainly in the amygdala in MCI patients compared with AD patients. The results suggested a widespread rewiring in AD and MCI patients. These findings concerning AD and MCI may be an integrated reflection of reorganization of the brain networks accompanied with the cognitive decline that may lead to AD.

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