Functional Network Alterations in Patients with Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment Characterized Using Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

Rihui Li, Guoxing Rui, Chunli Zhao, Chushan Wang, Feng Fang, Yingchun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is conceptualized as a cognitive disorder characterized by memory deficits. Patients with aMCI are treated as prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and have an increased likelihood of developing into AD. The investigation of aMCI is therefore fundamental to the early detection and intervention of AD. Growing evidence has shown that functional network alterations induced by cognition impairment can be captured by advanced neuroimaging techniques. In this study, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), an affordable, robust and portable neuroimaging modality, was employed to characterize the functional network in aMCI patients. FNIRS data were collected from 16 healthy controls and 16 aMCI patients using a digits verbal span task. Functional networks were constructed from temporal hemodynamic response signals. Graph-based indices were then calculated from the constructed brain networks to assess global and regional differences between the groups. Results suggested that brain networks in aMCI patients were characterized with higher integration as well as higher segregation compared to healthy controls. In addition, major regions of interest (ROIs) within frontal, temporal, precentral and parietal areas were identified to be associated with cognition impairment. Our findings validate the feasibility of utilizing fNIRS as a portable and reliable tool for the investigation of abnormal network alterations in patients with cognition decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8922610
Pages (from-to)123-132
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amnestic mild cognitive impairment
  • brain network
  • functional near-infrared spectroscopy
  • graph theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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