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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2011, Article ID 535816, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/535816
Review Article

The Default Mode Network in Healthy Aging and Alzheimer's Disease

Inserm, EPHE, Université de Caen/Basse-Normandie, Unité U923, GIP Cyceron, CHU Côte de Nacre, 14074 Caen, France

Received 9 November 2010; Accepted 7 April 2011

Academic Editor: Katsuya Urakami

Copyright © 2011 Katell Mevel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In the past decade, a “default mode network” (DMN) has been highlighted in neuroimaging studies as a set of brain regions showing increased activity in task-free state compared to cognitively demanding task, and synchronized activity at rest. Changes within this network have been described in healthy aging as well as in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and populations at risk for AD, that is, amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI) patients and APOE-ε4 carriers. This is of particular interest in the context of early diagnosis and more generally for our understanding of the physiopathological mechanisms of AD. This paper gives an overview of the anatomical and physiological characteristics of this network as well as its relationships with cognition, before focusing on changes in the DMN over normal aging and Alzheimer's disease. While perturbations of the DMN have been consistently reported, especially within the posterior cingulate, further studies are needed to understand their clinical implication.