Spatio-temporal patterns of brain magnetic activity during a memory task in Alzheimer's disease

Neuroreport. 2001 Dec 21;12(18):3917-22. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200112210-00013.


The brain magnetic activity patterns in a high load probe-letter (targets and distractors) memory task were examined in patients with Alzheimers's disease (AD) and elderly controls. Control subjects showed a higher number of activity sources over the temporal and parietal cortex between 400 and 700 ms after stimulus onset. However, AD patients showed a higher number of sources over the frontal motor areas, including Broca's and the insula. The number of activity sources on the left parietal areas in response to the target stimuli predicted the AD score oncognitive (MMSE, CAMCOG) and functional staging (FAST) scales. These results suggest that a high information load reveals a deficient functioning of phonological store and reduced task-related activity in temporal and parietal areas, manifesting in a rapid information trace decay. The increased levels of activity in motor areas may reflect a compensatory strategy in an attempt to facilitate rehearsal speed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reaction Time / physiology