The functional connectivity of the human brain during the aging process is one of the themes researched by the Laboratory of Neuro-Image in Psychiatry (LIM/21), which is part of the network of the Medical Investigation Laboratories from the Hospital das Clínicas of the Medical School of the Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP). Prof. Geraldo Busatto Filho, Titular Professor of the Psychiatry Department and Coordinator of the LIM21, declares this is “a very important field to study the networks of brain connections in the normal aging process and differentiate them from the pathological alterations contained in neurodegenerative diseases, with the potential of future discoveries for the advancement on diagnosis and clinical practice”.

With the improvement of magnetic resonance techniques, it is possible to assess the anatomy, the microstructure and the functioning of the brain, with the acquisition of images in shorter time gaps. Since the beginning of the 91’s, the functional magnetic resonance technique has come to be used to study the functional activities of the human brain during the completion of tasks, investigating stimuli patterns which can be related to emotions and cognition. In recent years, the same methodology has been used to investigate the connectivity of resting neural networks. “The use of magnetic resonance to observe brain connections in a resting state has the future potential to help on the clinical practice, both in the diagnostic distinction between different kinds of dementia and in the prediction of which patients with light cognitive impairment has a higher risk of evolving into more severe cases of dementia and of Alzheimer’s disease”, said Prof. Busatto.

Dr. Luiz Kobuti Ferreira, during his doctorate studies at FMUSP, has written, in 2013, in co-authoring with Prof. Busatto (his advisor at the time), the revisionist article entitled “Resting-state functional connectivity in normal brain aging”. In tune with the increasing interest of the period over the use of resting-state functional magnetic resonance, Ferreira and Busatto revised initial studies published up until that moment on the normal aging process, and discussed several ways in which the use of this methodology could bring new scientific contributions. The article, published at the renowned scientific journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, by Elsevier, has ever since been receiving many citations at the Web of Science database and was classified as a top paper. After this article’s publication, Dr. Ferreira collected data from resting-state functional magnetic resonance in Brazilian volunteers during his doctorate studies, with original results also published internationally in 2016. From this database, the LIM 21 have been focusing their most recent researches not only on a healthy aging process, but also on the study of dementias.

Access here the full article Top Paper of LIM 21.