Regional functional connectivity (FC) of 39 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), 23 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 43 healthy elderly controls was studied using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). After a mean follow-up of 2.8 ± 1.9 years, 7 MCI patients converted to AD, while 14 patients remained cognitively stable. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans were analyzed using independent component analysis (ICA), followed by a "dual-regression" technique to create and compare subject-specific maps of each independent spatiotemporal component, correcting for age, sex, and gray matter atrophy. AD patients displayed lower FC within the default-mode network (DMN) in the precuneus and posterior cingulate cortex compared with controls, independent of cortical atrophy. Regional FC values of MCI patients were numerically in between AD patients and controls, but only the difference between AD and stable MCI patients was statistically significant. Correlation with cognitive dysfunction demonstrated the clinical relevance of FC changes within the DMN. In conclusion, clinically relevant decreased FC within the DMN was observed in AD.
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