Functional compensation in incipient Alzheimer's disease

A. Caroli, C. Geroldi, F. Nobili, L. R. Barnden, U. P. Guerra, M. Bonetti, G. B. Frisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim of this study was to investigate the functional compensation mechanism in incipient Alzheimer's disease (AD). Seventeen elderly healthy subjects and nine amnestic MCI patients with incipient AD underwent brain MR scan and 99mTc ECD SPECT. We processed all images with SPM2, we created t maps, showing the wholebrain GM atrophy and functional changes, and we properly masked them with each other in order to assess relatively preserved perfusion or depression. Incipient AD showed GM atrophy in the medial temporal and temporoparietal lobes, in the insula and in the retrosplenial cortex, and GM hypoperfusion in the medial temporal and temporoparietal lobes. Relatively preserved perfusion, we could hypothesize to be compensatory in the setting of neuronal loss, was found in the posterior cingulate, in the head of the hippocampus, in the amigdala, and in the insula bilaterally, while functional depression occurred in bilateral parahippocampal gyri. In AD, a perfusional compensatory mechanism takes place in the neocortex, while perfusional depression occurs in the medial temporal lobe. These results help understand the reactive phenomena induced by the brain to try and counteract the pathological changes of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-397
Number of pages11
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Functional compensation
  • Incipient AD
  • MRI
  • Voxel-based analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional compensation in incipient Alzheimer's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this