Falls Associate with Neurodegenerative Changes in ATN Framework of Alzheimer's Disease

Audrey Keleman, Julie K. Wisch, Rebecca M. Bollinger, Elizabeth A. Grant, Tammie L. Benzinger, John C. Morris, Beau M. Ances, Susan L. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Behavioral markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) are not included within the widely used amyloid-tau-neurodegeneration framework. Objective: To determine when falls occur among cognitively normal (CN) individuals with and without preclinical AD. Methods: This cross-sectional study recorded falls among CN participants (n = 83) over a 1-year period. Tailored calendar journals recorded falls. Biomarkers including amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging were acquired within 2 years of fall evaluations. CN participants were dichotomized by amyloid PET (using standard cutoffs). Differences in amyloid accumulation, global resting state functional connectivity (rs-fc) intra-network signature, and hippocampal volume were compared between individuals who did and did not fall using Wilcoxon rank sum tests. Among preclinical AD participants (amyloid-positive), the partial correlation between amyloid accumulation and global rs-fc intra-network signature was compared for those who did and did not fall. Results: Participants who fell had smaller hippocampal volumes (p = 0.04). Among preclinical AD participants, those who fell had a negative correlation between amyloid uptake and global rs-fc intra-network signature (R = -0.75, p = 0.012). A trend level positive correlation was observed between amyloid uptake and global rs-fc intra-network signature (R = 0.70, p = 0.081) for preclinical AD participants who did not fall. Conclusion: Falls in CN older adults correlate with neurodegeneration biomarkers. Participants without falls had lower amyloid deposition and preserved global rs-fc intra-network signature. Falls most strongly correlated with presence of amyloid and loss of brain connectivity and occurred in later stages of preclinical AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-752
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • biomarkers
  • falls
  • resting state functional connectivity
  • volumetrics


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