Brain investigation and brain conceptualization

Funct Neurol. 2013 Jul-Sep;28(3):175-90. doi: 10.11138/FNeur/2013.28.3.175.


The brain of a patient with Alzheimer's disease (AD) undergoes changes starting many years before the development of the first clinical symptoms. The recent availability of large prospective datasets makes it possible to create sophisticated brain models of healthy subjects and patients with AD, showing pathophysiological changes occurring over time. However, these models are still inadequate; representations are mainly single-scale and they do not account for the complexity and interdependence of brain changes. Brain changes in AD patients occur at different levels and for different reasons: at the molecular level, changes are due to amyloid deposition; at cellular level, to loss of neuron synapses, and at tissue level, to connectivity disruption. All cause extensive atrophy of the whole brain organ. Initiatives aiming to model the whole human brain have been launched in Europe and the US with the goal of reducing the burden of brain diseases. In this work, we describe a new approach to earlier diagnosis based on a multimodal and multiscale brain concept, built upon existing and well-characterized single modalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Atrophy
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Computational Biology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / psychology


  • Biomarkers