Behavioral psychological symptoms of dementia and functional connectivity changes: a network-based study

Laura Serra, Michela Bruschini, Carlotta Di Domenico, Matteo Mancini, Giulia Bechi Gabrielli, Sabrina Bonarota, Carlo Caltagirone, Mara Cercignani, Camillo Marra, Marco Bozzali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are commonly observed since the early stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD) associated with structural brain changes. It is conceivable that they may also relate to functional brain changes. This resting-state functional MRI (RS-fMRI) study investigated the alterations within functional brain networks of a cohort of AD patients at different clinical stages who presented with BPSD. One hundred one AD patients and 56 patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment underwent a neuropsychological evaluation including the Neuropsychiatry Inventory-12 (NPI-12). All patients and 35 healthy controls (HS) underwent 3T-MRI. Factor analysis was used to extract the principal factors from NPI-12, while RS-fMRI data were processed using graph theory to investigate functional connectivity. Five factors were extracted from NPI-12. Sixty-two percent of patients showed BPSD and functional brain connectivity changes in various networks compared to those without BPSD and HS. These changes contributed to account for patients' BPSD. This work opens new perspectives in terms of nonpharmacological interventions that might be designed to modulate brain connectivity and improve patients' BPSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-206
Number of pages11
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • a-MCI
  • AD
  • BPSD
  • Brain functional connectivity
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Ageing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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