Evaluation and tracking of Alzheimer's disease severity using resting-state magnetoencephalography

J Alzheimers Dis. 2011:26 Suppl 3:239-55. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2011-0056.


We have conducted multicenter clinical studies in which brain function was evaluated with brief, resting-state magnetoencephalography (MEG) scans. A study cohort of 117 AD patients and 123 elderly cognitively normal volunteers was recruited from community neurology clinics in Denver, Colorado and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Each subject was evaluated through neurological examination, medical history, and a modest battery of standard neuropsychological tests. Brain function was measured by a one-minute, resting-state, eyes-open MEG scan. Cross-sectional analysis of MEG scans revealed global changes in the distribution of relative spectral power (centroid frequency of healthy subjects = 8.24 ± 0.2 Hz and AD patients = 6.78 ± 0.25 Hz) indicative of generalized slowing of brain signaling. Functional connectivity patterns were measured using the synchronous neural interactions (SNI) test, which showed a global increase in the strength of functional connectivity (cO2 value of healthy subjects = 0.059 ± 0.0007 versus AD patients = 0.066 ± 0.001) associated with AD. The largest magnitude disease-associated changes were localized to sensors near posterior and lateral cortical regions. Part of the cohort (31 AD and 46 cognitively normal) was evaluated in an identical fashion approximately 10 months after the first assessments. Follow-up scans revealed multiple MEG scan features that correlated significantly with changes in neuropsychological test scores. Linear combinations of these MEG scan features generated an accurate multivariate model of disease progression over 10 months. Our results demonstrate the utility of brief resting-state tests based on MEG. The non-invasive, rapid and convenient nature of these scans offers a new tool for translational AD research and early phase development of novel treatments for AD.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Rest*