Subcortical connectivity in dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease

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Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be used to measure correlations in spontaneous low-frequency fluctuations in the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal which represent functional connectivity between key brain areas.


To investigate functional connectivity with regions hypothesised to be differentially affected in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) compared with Alzheimer's disease and controls.


Fifteen participants with probable DLB, 16 with probable Alzheimer's disease and 16 controls were scanned in the resting-state using a 3T scanner. The BOLD signal time-series of fluctuations in seed regions were correlated with all other voxels to measure functional connectivity.


Participants with DLB, Alzheimer's disease showed greater caudate and thalamic connectivity compared with controls. Those with DLB showed greater putamen connectivity compared with those with Alzheimer's disease and the controls. No regions showed less connectivity in DLB or Alzheimer's disease v. controls, or in DLB v. Alzheimer's disease.


Altered connectivity in DLB and Alzheimer's disease provides new insights into the neurobiology of these disorders and may aid in earlier diagnosis.

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