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Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 50; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050050

A Pilot Study on Brain Plasticity of Functional Connectivity Modulated by Cognitive Training in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment

1
Clinical and Behavioral Neurology Laboratory, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome 00179, Italy
2
Neuroimaging Laboratory, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome 00179, Italy
3
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Berlin 10117, Germany
4
Department of Engineering, University of Rome “Roma Tre”, Rome 00146, Italy
5
Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex and Medical School, Brighton BN1 9RR, UK
6
Department of Systemic Medicine, University of Tor Vergata, Rome 00173, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 29 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk and Protective Factors for Neurocognitive Aging)
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Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) alters the functional connectivity of the default mode network (DMN) but also the topological properties of the functional connectome. Cognitive training (CT) is a tool to slow down AD progression and is likely to impact on functional connectivity. In this pilot study, we aimed at investigating brain functional changes after a period of CT and active control (AC) in a group of 26 subjects with mild AD (mAD), 26 with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and a control group of 29 healthy elderly (HE) people. They all underwent a CT and AC in a counterbalanced order following a crossover design. Resting-state functional MRI and neuropsychological testing were acquired before and after each period. We tested post-CT and post-AC changes of cognitive abilities, of the functional connectivity of the DMN, and of topological network properties derived from graph theory and network-based statistics. Only CT produced functional changes, increasing the functional connectivity of the posterior DMN in all three groups. mAD also showed functional changes in the medial temporal lobe and topological changes in the anterior cingulum, whereas aMCI showed more widespread topological changes involving the frontal lobes, the cerebellum and the thalamus. Our results suggest specific functional connectivity changes after CT for aMCI and mAD. View Full-Text
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; mild cognitive impairment; neural plasticity; DMN; connectomics; fMRI; graph theory; cognitive training Alzheimer’s disease; mild cognitive impairment; neural plasticity; DMN; connectomics; fMRI; graph theory; cognitive training
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Barban, F.; Mancini, M.; Cercignani, M.; Adriano, F.; Perri, R.; Annicchiarico, R.; Carlesimo, G.A.; Ricci, C.; Lombardi, M.G.; Teodonno, V.; Serra, L.; Giulietti, G.; Fadda, L.; Federici, A.; Caltagirone, C.; Bozzali, M. A Pilot Study on Brain Plasticity of Functional Connectivity Modulated by Cognitive Training in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Brain Sci. 2017, 7, 50.

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