Prefrontal functional connectivity analysis with fNIRS

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Prefrontal functional connectivity analysis of cognitive decline for early diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment: a functional near-infrared spectroscopy study.

Cognitive decline (CD) is a major symptom of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Patients with MCI have an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Although a cure for AD is currently lacking, medication therapies and/or daily training in the early stage can alleviate disease progression and improve patients’ quality of life. Accordingly, investigating CD-related biomarkers via brain imaging devices is crucial for early diagnosis. In particular, “portable” brain imaging devices enable frequent diagnostic checks as a routine clinical tool, and therefore increase the possibility of early AD diagnosis. This study aimed to comprehensively investigate functional connectivity (FC) in the prefrontal cortex measured by a portable functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) device during a working memory (WM) task known as the delayed matching to sample (DMTS) task. Differences in prefrontal FC between healthy control (HC) (n = 23) and CD groups (n = 23) were examined. Intra-group analysis (one-sample t-test) revealed significantly greater prefrontal FC, especially left- and inter-hemispheric FC, in the CD group than in the HC. These observations could be due to a compensatory mechanism of the prefrontal cortex caused by hippocampal degeneration. Inter-group analysis (unpaired two-sample t-test) revealed significant intergroup differences in left- and inter-hemispheric FC. These attributes may serve as a novel biomarker for early detection of MCI. In addition, our findings imply that portable fNIRS devices covering the prefrontal cortex may be useful for early diagnosis of MCI.

PMID: 32341843 [PubMed]

Biomed Opt Express. 2020 Apr 01;11(4):1725-1741

Authors: Yu JW, Lim SH, Kim B, Kim E, Kim K, Kyu Park S, Seok Byun Y, Sakong J, Choi JW