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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 638312, 8 pages
Clinical Study

Sensorimotor Cortex Reorganization in Alzheimer's Disease and Metal Dysfunction: A MEG Study

1Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (CNR), Unità MEG, Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Isola Tiberina, 00186 Rome, Italy
2Department of Imaging, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, 00163 Rome, Italy
3Department of Neuroscience and Imaging, Gabriele d'Annunzio University, 66100 Chieti, Italy
4AFaR, Department of Neuroscience, Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Isola Tiberina, 00186 Rome, Italy
5Institute of Neurology, Department of Neuroscience, Catholic University, A. Gemelli Polyclinic, 00168 Rome, Italy
6Laboratory of Neurodegeneration, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, 00163 Rome, Italy

Received 5 August 2013; Accepted 4 October 2013

Academic Editor: Renato Polimanti

Copyright © 2013 C. Salustri 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.


Objective. To verify whether systemic biometals dysfunctions affect neurotransmission in living Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. Methods. We performed a case-control study using magnetoencephalography to detect sensorimotor fields of AD patients, at rest and during median nerve stimulation. We analyzed position and amount of neurons synchronously activated by the stimulation in both hemispheres to investigate the capability of the primary somatosensory cortex to reorganize its circuitry disrupted by the disease. We also assessed systemic levels of copper, ceruloplasmin, non-Cp copper (i.e., copper not bound to ceruloplasmin), peroxides, transferrin, and total antioxidant capacity. Results. Patients’ sensorimotor generators appeared spatially shifted, despite no change of latency and strength, while spontaneous activity sources appeared unchanged. Neuronal reorganization was greater in moderately ill patients, while delta activity increased in severe patients. Non-Cp copper was the only biological variable appearing to be associated with patient sensorimotor transmission. Conclusions. Our data strengthen the notion that non-Cp copper, not copper in general, affects neuronal activity in AD. Significance. High plasticity in the disease early stages in regions controlling more commonly used body parts strengthens the notion that physical and cognitive activities are protective factors against progression of dementia.