Progressive disintegration of brain networking from normal aging to Alzheimer disease: Analysis of independent components of 18F-FDG PET data

Marco Pagani, Alessandro Giuliani, Johanna Öberg, Fabrizio De Carli, Silvia Morbelli, Nicola Girtler, Dario Arnaldi, Jennifer Accardo, Matteo Bauckneht, Francesca Bongioanni, Andrea Chincarini, Gianmario Sambuceti, Cathrine Jonsson, Flavio Nobili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain connectivity has been assessed in several neurodegenerative disorders investigating the mutual correlations between predetermined regions or nodes. Selective breakdown of brain networks during progression from normal aging to Alzheimer disease dementia (AD) has also been observed. Methods: We implemented independentcomponent analysis of 18F-FDG PET data in 5 groups of subjects with cognitive states ranging from normal aging to AD-including mild cognitive impairment (MCI) not converting or converting to AD- to disclose the spatial distribution of the independent components in each cognitive state and their accuracy in discriminating the groups. Results: We could identify spatially distinct independent components in each group, with generation of local circuits increasing proportionally to the severity of the disease. AD-specific independent components first appeared in the late-MCI stage and could discriminate converting MCI and AD from nonconverting MCI with an accuracy of 83.5%. Progressive disintegration of the intrinsic networks from normal aging to MCI to AD was inversely proportional to the conversion time. Conclusion: Independent-component analysis of 18F-FDG PET data showed a gradual disruption of functional brain connectivity with progression of cognitive decline in AD. This information might be useful as a prognostic aid for individual patients and as a surrogate biomarker in intervention trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1132-1139
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Independent-component analysis
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Normal aging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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