PET scans pick up clear signs of breakdown in neurological networks
P. Spetsieris et al/ PNAS 2015, adapted by S. Egts
Networks of brain regions that are active when the brain is at rest — not thinking about anything in particular — differ between healthy people and those with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases, a new study finds.
Measurements of how much glucose brain cells consume reveal that one important resting network, called the default mode network, rapidly and continually loses activity in people with Alzheimer’s disease, researchers report February 9 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In contrast, the network remains largely intact during the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.
The default mode network is series of brain regions that are active when people are sitting quietly thinking of nothing in particular. Scientists debate the network’s role, but some evidence has indicated that it breaks down in a wide variety of brain disorders and