Spontaneous low frequency BOLD signal variations from resting-state fMRI are decreased in Alzheimer disease

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Previous studies have demonstrated altered brain activity in Alzheimer's disease using task based functional MRI (fMRI), network based resting-state fMRI, and glucose metabolism from 18F fluorodeoxyglucose-PET (FDG-PET). Our goal was to define a novel indicator of neuronal activity based on a first-order textural feature of the resting state functional MRI (RS-fMRI) signal. Furthermore, we examined the association between this neuronal activity metric and glucose metabolism from 18F FDG-PET. We studied 15 normal elderly controls (NEC) and 15 probable Alzheimer disease (AD) subjects from the AD Neuroimaging Initiative. An independent component analysis was applied to the RS-fMRI, followed by template matching to identify neuronal components (NC). A regional brain activity measurement was constructed based on the variation of the RS-fMRI signal of these NC. The standardized glucose uptake values of several brain regions relative to the cerebellum (SUVR) were measured from partial volume corrected FDG-PET images. Comparing the AD and NEC groups, the mean brain activity metric was significantly lower in the accumbens, while the glucose SUVR was significantly lower in the amygdala and hippocampus. The RS-fMRI brain activity metric was positively correlated with cognitive measures and amyloid β1-42 cerebral spinal fluid levels; however, these did not remain significant following Bonferroni correction. There was a significant linear correlation between the brain activity metric and the glucose SUVR measurements. This proof of concept study demonstrates that this novel and easy to implement RS-fMRI brain activity metric can differentiate a group of healthy elderly controls from a group of people with AD.

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