Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common age-related neurodegenerative disease and leads to dementia. AD is characterized by progressive declines in memory and, as the disease progresses, language dysfunction. Although it has been reported that AD patients show progressive aphasia, no study has examined the relationship between language functions estimated by the Standard Language Test for Aphasia (SLTA) and brain network connectivity in Japanese AD patients. If present, such a relationship would be of particular interest because Japanese speakers are accustomed to mingling ideography and phonography.
22 Japanese patients with AD who underwent 1.5-tesla MRI scan and SLTA, the scale for speech and reading impairment, participated in this study. We computed brain network connectivity metrics such as degree, betweenness centrality, and clustering coefficient, and estimated their relationships with the subscores of SLTA.
There was a significant negative correlation between the score for “reading aloud Kanji words” and the clustering coefficient in the left inferior temporal region, bilateral hippocampal regions, and right parietotemporal region. We also found a significant negative correlation between the score for “auditory comprehension of words” and the clustering coefficient in the left prefrontal region. No significant relationship was found between the other SLTA scores and the network metrics.
Our data suggest relationships between reading impairments and regional brain network connectivity in Japanese patients with AD. The brain connectome may provide adjunct biological information that could improve our understanding of reading impairment.

© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.
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