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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