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      Increased functional connectivity and brain atrophy in elderly with subjective memory complaints.

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          Abstract

          Subjective memory complaints (SMC) are common among elderly. Although subtle changes in memory functioning can hardly be determined using neuropsychological evaluation, neuroimaging studies indicate regionally smaller brain structures in elderly with SMC. Imaging of resting-state functional connectivity is sensitive to detect changes in neurodegenerative diseases, but is currently underexplored in SMC. Here, we investigate resting-state functional connectivity and brain structure in SMC. We analyzed magnetic resonance imaging data of 25 elderly with SMC and 29 age-matched controls (mean age of 71 years). Voxel-based morphometry and volume measurements of subcortical structures were employed on the structural scans using FSL. The dual regression method was used to analyze voxel-wise functional connectivity in relation to eight well-characterized resting-state networks. Group differences were studied with two-sample t-tests (p<0.05, Family-Wise Error corrected). In addition to gray matter volume reductions (hippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), medial prefrontal cortex, cuneus, precuneus, and precentral gyrus), elderly with SMC showed increased functional connectivity in the default mode network (hippocampus, thalamus, posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), cuneus, precuneus, and superior temporal gyrus) and the medial visual network (ACC, PCC, cuneus, and precuneus). This study is the first which demonstrates that, in addition to smaller regional brain volumes, increases in functional connectivity are present in elderly with SMC. This suggests that self-reported SMC is a reflection of objective alterations in brain function. Furthermore, our results indicate that functional imaging, in addition to structural imaging, can be a useful tool to objectively determine a difference in brain integrity in SMC.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Brain Connect
          Brain connectivity
          2158-0022
          2158-0014
          2013
          : 3
          : 4
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. a.hafkemeijer@lumc.nl
          Article
          10.1089/brain.2013.0144
          3749691
          23627661

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