Different patterns of brain activation in normal aging and Alzheimer's disease from cognitional sight: meta analysis using activation likelihood estimation

J Neurol Sci. 2014 Aug 15;343(1-2):159-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2014.05.066. Epub 2014 Jun 6.


Alzheimer disease (AD) is a chronic neurological disease, frequently affecting cognitional functions. Recently, a large body of neuro-imaging studies have aimed at finding reliable biomarkers of AD for early diagnosis of disease in contrast with healthy elderlies. We intended to have a meta-analytical study on recent functional neuroimaging studies to find the relationship between cognition in AD patients and normal elderlies. A systematic search was conducted to collect functional neuroimaging studies such as positron emission therapy (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in AD patients and healthy elderlies. The coordinates of regions related to cognition were meta-analyzed using the activation likelihood estimation (ALE) method and Sleuth software. P-value map at the false discovery rate (FDR) of P<0.05 thresholds and the clusters with a minimum size of 200 mm(3) were considered. Data were visualized with MANGO software. Forty-one articles that explored the areas activated during cognition in normal elderly subjects and AD patients were found. According to the findings, left middle frontal gyrus and left precuneus are the most activated areas in cognitional tasks in healthy elderlies and AD patients respectively. In normal elderly subjects and AD patients, comparison of ALE maps and reverse contrast showed that insula and left precuneus were the most activated areas in cognitional aspects respectively. With respect to unification of left precuneus activation in cognitional tasks, it seems that this point can be a hallmark in primary differentiation of AD and healthy individuals.

Keywords: Activation likelihood estimation; Aging; Alzheimer disease; Cognition; Meta-analysis; Neuroimaging.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions*
  • Male
  • Neuroimaging