Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease Using Non-invasive Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

Rihui Li, Guoxing Rui, Wei Chen, Sheng Li, Paul E. Schulz, Yingchun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a cognitive disorder characterized by memory impairment, wherein patients have an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The classification of MCI and different AD stages is therefore fundamental for understanding and treating the disease. This study aimed to comprehensively investigate the hemodynamic response patterns among various subject groups. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) was employed to measure signals from the frontal and bilateral parietal cortices of healthy controls (n = 8), patients with MCI (n = 9), mild (n = 6), and moderate/severe AD (n = 7) during a digit verbal span task (DVST). The concentration changes of oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO) in various subject groups were thoroughly explored and tested. Result revealed that abnormal patterns of hemodynamic response were observed across all subject groups. Greater and steeper reductions in HbO concentration were consistently observed across all regions of interest (ROIs) as disease severity developed from MCI to moderate/severe AD. Furthermore, all the fNIRS-derived indexes were found to be significantly and positively correlated to the clinical scores in all ROIs (R ≥ 0.4, P < 0.05). These findings demonstrate the feasibility of utilizing fNIRS for the early detection of AD, suggesting that fNIRS-based approaches hold great promise for exploring the mechanisms underlying the progression of AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number366
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
StatePublished - Nov 9 2018


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • functional near-infrared spectroscopy
  • hemodynamic response
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • oxygenated hemoglobin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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