Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Nielson, Kristy

Second Advisor

Gordon, Nakia

Third Advisor

De St. Aubin, Ed


Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have examined the connectivity between the hippocampus (HIPP) and the posterior cingulate (PC) in individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and younger individuals at risk for AD. The present study aimed to examine the functional connectivity between these two memory structures and targets of AD neurodegeneration in cognitively intact elders at risk for AD (positive for ApolipoE protein (ε4) and family history of dementia), MCI, and healthy controls. Seeds and regions of interest were defined in the bilateral hippocampus and posterior cingulate, and the time courses were cross-correlated to generate a value of functional connectivity between two structures for comparisons across groups. Results indicate the presence of greater functional connectivity between the left HIPP and PC in healthy elders at risk compared to patients with MCI and healthy controls and a general reduction in functional connectivity between bilateral HIPP and PC in patients with MCI. This marker of increased functional connectivity, during the resting state of the brain, found in cognitively intact elders at risk compared to cognitively intact controls and symptomatic patients with MCI might be an important diagnostic tool to identify those most vulnerable for the development of AD.