The impact of cognitive reserve on brain functional connectivity in Alzheimer's disease

Bozzali, Marco, Dowling, Claire, Serra, Laura, Spanò, Barbara, Torso, Mario, Marra, Camillo, Castelli, Diana, Dowell, Nicholas G, Koch, Giacomo, Caltagirone, Carlo and Cercignani, Mara (2015) The impact of cognitive reserve on brain functional connectivity in Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 44 (1). pp. 243-50. ISSN 1875-8908

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One factor believed to impact brain resilience to the pathological damage of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the so-called "cognitive reserve" (CR). A critical issue that still needs to be fully understood is the mechanism by which environmental enrichment interacts with brain plasticity to determine resilience to AD pathology. Previous work using PET suggests that increased brain connectivity might be at the origin of the compensatory mechanisms implicated in this process. This study aims to further clarify this issue using resting-state functional MRI. Resting-state functional MRI was collected for 11 patients with AD, 18 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 16 healthy controls, and analyzed to isolate the default mode network (DMN). A quantitative score of CR was obtained by combining information about number of years of education and type of schools attended. Consistent with previous reports, education was found to modulate functional connectivity in the posterior cingulate cortex, whose disconnection with the temporal lobes is known to be critical for the conversion from MCI to AD. This effect was highly significant in AD patients, less so in patients with MCI, and absent in healthy subjects. These findings show the potential neural mechanisms underlying the individual's ability to cope with brain damage, although they should be treated with some caution based on small numbers.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Depositing User: Nicholas Dowell
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 14:28
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2020 15:08
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