Cognitive dysfunction is prevalent in older adults with bipolar disorder (BD). High white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden, a marker of white matter disease, detected on T2/fluid-attenuated inversion recovery brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been consistently reported in BD across all age ranges, including older adults. Yet, whether high WMH burden is related to the excess cognitive impairment present in older adults with BD is unknown. Therefore, we examine whether higher WMH burden is related to worse cognitive function in older adults with BD.
This is a cross-sectional study of 27 non-demented BD patients aged ≥50 years and 12 similarly aged mentally healthy comparators (controls). Subjects underwent both brain MRI and comprehensive neurocognitive assessment. We employed correlational analyses to evaluate the burden of WMH and the relationship between WMH and cognitive function.
Although BD subjects had worse performance in all cognitive domains, BD subjects had less total WMH burden (t[13.4] = −3.57, p = 0.003). In control subjects, higher WMH was related to lower global cognitive function (ρ= −0.57, n= 12, p = 0.05). However, WMH did not correlate with neuropsychological performance in BD subjects. Further, BD and control subjects did not differ with respect to total gray and hippocampal volumes.
Cognitive dysfunction in late-life BD does not appear to be due primarily to processes related to increased WMH or reduced gray matter volume. Future longitudinal studies should examine other potential neuroprogressive pathways such as inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, serum anticholinergic burden, and altered neurogenesis.
bipolar disorder; cognition; aging; neuroimaging
The ‘Vascular Depression’ hypothesis posits that cerebrovascular disease may predispose, precipitate, or perpetuate some geriatric depressive syndromes. This hypothesis stimulated much research that has improved our understanding of the complex relationships between late-life depression (LLD), vascular risk factors, and cognition. Succinctly, there are well-established relationships between late-life depression, vascular risk factors, and cerebral hyperintensities, the radiological hallmark of vascular depression. Cognitive dysfunction is common in late-life depression, particularly executive dysfunction, a finding predictive of poor antidepressant response. Over time, progression of hyperintensities and cognitive deficits predicts a poor course of depression and may reflect underlying worsening of vascular disease. This work laid the foundation for examining the mechanisms by which vascular disease influences brain circuits and influences the development and course of depression. We review data testing the vascular depression hypothesis with a focus on identifying potential underlying vascular mechanisms. We propose a disconnection hypothesis, wherein focal vascular damage and white matter lesion location is a crucial factor influencing neural connectivity that contributes to clinical symptomatology. We also propose inflammatory and hypoperfusion hypotheses, concepts that link underlying vascular processes with adverse effects on brain function that influence the development of depression. Testing such hypotheses will not only inform the relationship between vascular disease and depression but also provide guidance on the potential repurposing of pharmacological agents that may improve late-life depression outcomes.
Depression; geriatrics; cerebrovascular; review; neuroimaging; cognition
While the cross-sectional relationship of arterial stiffness with cerebral small vessel disease is consistently shown in middle-aged and young-old adults, its less clear if these associations remain significant over time in very old adults. We hypothesize that arterial stiffness is longitudinally associated with white matter characteristics and associations are stronger within watershed areas.
Neuroimaging was obtained in 2006–08 from 303 elderly (mean age 82.9 years, 59% women, 41% black) with pulse wave velocity measures in 1997–98. Multivariable regression models estimated the coefficients for pulse wave velocity (cm/sec) in relationship to presence, severity and spatial distribution of white matter hyperintensities, gray matter volume and fractional anisotropy from diffusion tensor, adjusting for demographic, cardiovascular risk factors and diseases from 1997–98 to 2006–08.
Higher pulse wave velocity in 1997–98 was associated with greater white matter hyperintensities volume in 2006–08 within the left superior longitudinal fasciculus (age and total brain white matter hyperintensities-adjusted p=0.023), but not with white matter hyperintensities in other tracts, or with fractional anisotropy or gray matter volume from total brain (p>0.2). Associations were stronger in blacks than in whites remaining significant in fully adjusted models.
Elderly with white matter hyperintensities in tracts related to processing speed and memory are more likely to have had higher pulse wave velocity values ten years prior, before neuroimaging data being available. Future studies should address whether arterial stiffness can serve as an early biomarker of covert brain structural abnormalities and whether early arterial stiffness control can promote successful brain aging, especially in black elderly.
pulse wave velocity; small vessel disease; longitudinal; fractional anisotropy; community-dwelling elderly
Background and Objectives
White matter hyperintensities (WMH) on brain MRI are associated with cognitive and mobility impairment in older adults. We examined whether WMH in tracts in older adults with mobility impairment are linked to outcomes of gait rehabilitation interventions.
A 12-week randomized controlled single-blind trial.
University-based mobility research laboratory.
Ambulatory adults aged 65 and older with mobility impairment.
A conventional gait intervention focusing on walking, endurance, balance, and strength (WEBS, n=21) compared to a task-oriented intervention focused on timing and coordination of gait (TC, n=23).
We measured self-paced gait speed over an instrumented walkway, pre and post intervention, and quantified WMH and brain volumes on pre-intervention brain MRI using an automated segmentation process. We overlaid a white matter tract atlas on the segmented images to measure tract WMH volumes and normalized WMH volumes to total brain volume. Aggregate WMH volumes in all white matter tracts and individual WMH volumes in specific longitudinal tracts (the superior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus and the fronto-occipital fasciculus) and cingulum were obtained.
Gait speed gains in the TC group were of the same magnitude, independent of the WMH volume measures in all except the cingulum. However, in the WEBS group, gain in gait speed was smaller with greater overall tract WMH volumes (P<0.001) and with greater WMH volume in the three longitudinal tracts (P< 0.001 to 0.025).
Gains in gait speed with two types of gait rehabilitation are associated with individual differences in WMH. Task-oriented therapy that targets timing and coordination of gait may particularly benefit older adults with WMH in brain tracts that influence gait and cognition.
White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) are often identified on T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images in the elderly. The WMHs are generally associated with small vessel ischemic or pre-ischemic changes. However, the association of WMHs with blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal is understudied. In this study, we evaluate how the BOLD signal change is related to the presence of WMHs in the elderly. Data were acquired as part of a study of late-life depression and included elderly individuals with and without major depression. The subjects were pooled because the presence of depression was not significantly associated with task-related BOLD changes, task performance, and WMH distribution. A whole brain voxel-wise regression analysis revealed a significant negative correlation between WMH burden and BOLD signal change during finger-tapping in the parietal white matter. Our observation that WMHs are associated with a significant diminution of the BOLD signal change underscores the importance of considering cerebrovascular burden when interpreting fMRI studies in the elderly. The mechanism underlying the association of WMH and BOLD signal change remains unclear: the association may be mediated by changes in neural activation, changes in coupling between neuronal activity and hemodynamics, or, perhaps, secondary to the effect of the ischemic changes on the sensitivity of the T2* BOLD MR signal.
Functional imaging; structural imaging; white matter hyperintensities; BOLD; aging
While our previous work suggests that the midazolam-induced memory impairment results from the inhibition of new association formation, little is known about the neural correlates underlying these effects beyond the effects of GABA agonists on the brain. We used arterial spin-labeling perfusion MRI to measure cerebral blood flow changes associated with the effects of midazolam on ability to learn arbitrary word-pairs. Using a double-blind, within-subject cross-over design, subjects studied word-pairs for a later cued-recall test while they were scanned. Lists of different word-pairs were studied both before and after an injection of either saline or midazolam. As expected, recall was severely impaired under midazolam. The contrast of MRI signal before and after midazolam administration revealed a decrease in CBF in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), left cingulate gyrus and left posterior cingulate gyrus/precuneus. These effects were observed even after controlling for any effect of injection. A strong correlation between the midazolam-induced changes in neural activity and memory performance was found in the left DLPFC. These findings provide converging evidence that this region plays a critical role in the formation of new associations and that low functioning of this region is associated with anterograde amnesia.
associative memory; arterial spin labeling; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
There is need for a valid and reliable biomarker for HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND). The purpose of the present study was to provide preliminary evidence of the potential utility of neuronal functional connectivity measures obtained using magnetoencephalography (MEG) to identify HIV-associated changes in brain function. Resting state, eyes closed, MEG data from 10 HIV-infected individuals and 8 seronegative controls were analyzed using mutual information (MI) between all pairs of MEG sensors to determine whether there were functional brain networks that distinguished between subject groups based on cognition (global and learning) or on serostatus.
Three networks were identified across all subjects, but after permutation testing (at α < .005) only the one related to HIV serostatus was significant. The network included MEG sensors (planar gradiometers) above the right anterior region connecting to sensors above the left posterior region. A mean MI value was calculated across all connections from the anterior to the posterior groupings; that score distinguished between the serostatus groups with only one error (sensitivity = 1.00, specificity = .88 (X2 = 15.4, df = 1, p < .01, Relative Risk = .11). There were no significant associations between the MI value and the neuropsychological Global Impairment rating, substance abuse, mood disorder, age, education, CD4+ cell counts or HIV viral load.
We conclude that using a measure of functional connectivity, it may be possible to distinguish between HIV-infected and uninfected individuals, suggesting that MEG may have the potential to serve as a sensitive, non-invasive biomarker for HAND.
HIV Disease; Cognition; Magnetoencephalography; Functional Connectivity
Identify the neuroimaging correlates of parkinsonian signs in older adults living in the community.
Magnetic resonance imaging was obtained in 307 adults (82.9 years, 55% women, 39% blacks) concurrently with the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating scale—motor part. Magnetic resonance imaging measures included volume of whole-brain white matter hyperintensities and of gray matter for primary sensorimotor, supplementary motor, medial temporal areas, cerebellum, prefronto-parietal cortex, and basal ganglia.
About 25% of the participants had bradykinesia, 26% had gait disturbances, and 12% had tremor. Compared with those without, adults with any one of these signs were older, walked more slowly, had worse scores on tests of cognition, mood and processing speed, and higher white matter hyperintensities volume (all p ≤ .002). Gray matter volume of primary sensorimotor area was associated with bradykinesia (standardized odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 0.46 [0.31, 0.68], p < .0001), and gray matter volume of medial temporal area was associated with gait disturbances (0.56 [0.42, 0.83], p < .0001), independent of white matter hyperintensities volume and age. Further adjustment for measures of muscle strength, cardiovascular health factors, cognition, processing speed, and mood or for gait speed did not substantially change these results.
Atrophy within primary sensorimotor and medial temporal areas might be important for development of bradykinesia and of gait disturbances in community-dwelling elderly adults. The pathways underlying these associations may not include changes in white matter hyperintensities volume, cognition, information processing speed, mood, or gait speed.
Bradykinesia; Gait disturbances; Brain MRI
Maintaining cognitive function protects older adults from developing functional decline. This study aims to identify the neuroimaging correlates of maintenance of higher global cognition as measured by the Modified Mini Mental State Test (3MS) score.
Repeated 3MS measures from 1997–98 through 2006–07 and magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion tensor in 2006–07 were obtained in a biracial cohort of 258 adults free from dementia (mean age 82.9 years, 56% women, 42% blacks). Participants were classified as having shown either maintenance (3MS slope>0) or decline (3MS slopeb1 SD below the mean) of cognition using linear mixed models. Measures of interest were white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHv) from total brain, volume of the gray matter (GMv) and microstructure (mean diffusivity, MD) for total brain and for brain areas known to be related to memory and executive control function: medial temporal area (hippocampus, parahippocampus and entorhinal cortex), cingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex.
Differences between cognitive maintainers (n=153) and non-maintainers (n=107) were significant for GMv of the medial temporal area (35.8%, p=0.004) and lower MD of the cingulate cortex (37.9%, p=0.008), but not for other neuroimaging markers. In multivariable regression models adjusted for age, race, WMHv and GMV from the total brain and vascular conditions, each standard deviation of GMv of the medial temporal area and each standard deviation of MD of the cingulate cortex were associated with a nearly 4 times greater probability (odds ratio [standard deviation]: 3.80 [1.16, 12.44]) and a 34% lower probability (0.66, [0.46, 0.97]) of maintaining cognitive function, respectively. In these models neither WMHv nor GMv from total brain were significantly associated with probability of maintaining cognitive function.
Preserving the volume of the medial temporal area and the microstructure of the cingulate cortex may contribute to maintaining cognitive function late in life.
This study tests whether or not the structural white matter lesions that are characteristic of late-life depression are associated with alterations in the functional affective circuits of late-life depression. This study used an emotional faces paradigm that has been shown to engage the affective limbic brain regions.
Thirty-three elderly depressed patients and 27 nondepressed comparison subjects participated in this study. The patients were recruited through the NIMH-sponsored Advanced Center for Interventions and Services Research for the Study of Late-Life Mood Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Bioethics and Health Law. Structural and functional MRI was used to assess white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) response on a facial expression affective-reactivity task in both elderly participants with nonpsychotic and non-bipolar major depression (unmedicated) and nondepressed elderly comparison subjects.
As expected, greater subgenual cingulate activity was observed in the depressed patients relative to the nondepressed comparison subjects. This same region showed greater task-related activity associated with a greater burden of cerebrovascular white matter change in the depressed group. Moreover, the depressed group showed a significantly greater interaction of WMH by fMRI activity effect than the nondepressed group.
The observation that high WMH burden in late-life depression is associated with greater BOLD response on the affective-reactivity task supports the model that white matter ischemia in elderly depressed patients disrupts brain mechanisms of affective regulation and leads to limbic hyperactivation.
There is a lack of a neuroimaging biomarker for HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder. We report magnetoencephalography (MEG) data from patients with HIV disease and risk-group appropriate controls that were collected to determine the MEG frequency profile during the resting state, and the stability of the profile over 24 weeks. 17 individuals (10 HIV+, 7 HIV−) completed detailed neurobehavioral evaluations and 10 minutes of resting-state MEG acquisition with a 306-channel whole-head system. The entire evaluation and MEG measurement were repeated 24 weeks later. Relative MEG power in the delta (0–4 Hz), theta (4–7 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz), beta (12–30 Hz) and low gamma (30–50 Hz) bands was computed for 8 predefined sensor groups. The median stability of resting-state relative power over 24 weeks of follow-up was 0.80 with eyes closed, and 0.72 with eyes open. The relative gamma power in the right occipital (t(15) = 1.99, p < .06, r = −.46) and right frontal (t(15t) = 2.15, p < .05, r = −.48) regions was associated with serostatus. The effect of age on delta power was greater in the seropositive subjects (r2 = .51) than in the seronegative subjects (r2 = .11). Individuals with high theta-to-gamma ratios tended to have lower cognitive test performance, regardless of serostatus. The stability of the wide-band MEG frequency profiles over 24 weeks supports the utility of MEG as a biomarker. The links between the MEG profile, serostatus, and cognition suggest further research on its potential in HAND is needed.
HIV; HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder; Magnetoencephalography (MEG); Magnetic Source Imaging (MSI); Cognition; Reliability; Biomarker
Mild cognitive deficits associated with HIV disease can affect activities of daily living, so interventions that reduce them may have a long-term effect on quality of life. We evaluated the feasibility of a cognitive stimulation program (CSP) to improve neuropsychological test performance in HIV disease.
60 volunteers (30 HIV-infected) participated. The primary outcome was the change in neuropsychological test performance as indexed by the Global Impairment Rating; secondary outcomes included mood (Brief Symptom Inventory subscales) and quality of life rating (Medical Outcomes Survey-HIV) scales.
52 participants completed all 24 weeks of the study, and 54% of the participants in the CSP group successfully used the system via internet access from their home or other location. There was a significant interaction between usage and study visit such that the participants who used the program most frequently showed significantly greater improvements in cognitive functioning (F(3,46.4)=3.26, p =.030); none of the secondary outcomes were affected by the dose of CSP.
We found it possible to complete an internet-based CSP in HIV-infected individuals; ease of internet access was a key component for success. Participants who used the program most showed improvements in cognitive function over the 24-week period, suggesting that a larger clinical trial of CSP may be warranted.
HIV; Cognition; Internet
Background: slower gait in older adults is related to smaller volume of the prefrontal area (PFAv). The pathways underlying this association have not yet been explored. Understanding slowing gait could help improve function in older age. We examine whether the association between smaller PFAv and slower gait is explained by lower performance on numerous neuropsychological tests.
Hypothesis: we hypothesise that slower information processing explains this association, while tests of language or memory will not.
Methods: data on brain imaging, neuropsychological tests (information processing speed, visuospatial attention, memory, language, mood) and time to walk 15 feet were obtained in 214 adults (73.3 years, 62% women) free from stroke and dementia. Covariates included central (white matter hyperintensities, vision) and peripheral contributors of gait (vibration sense, muscle strength, arthritis, body mass index), demographics (age, race, gender, education), as well as markers of prevalent vascular diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes and ankle arm index).
Results: in linear regression models, smaller PFAv was associated with slower time to walk independent of covariates. This association was no longer significant after adding information processing speed to the model. None of the other neuropsychological tests significantly attenuated this association.
Conclusions: we conclude that smaller PFAv may contribute to slower gait through slower information processing. Future longitudinal studies are warranted to examine the casual relationship between focal brain atrophy with slowing in information processing and gait.
prefrontal volume; gait speed; information processing; elderly
Typical packages used for coregistration in functional image analyses include automated image registration (AIR) and statistical parametric mapping (SPM). However, both methods have limited-dimension deformation models. A fully deformable model, which combines the piecewise linear registration for coarse alignment with demons algorithm for voxel-level refinement, allows a higher degree of spatial deformation. This leads to a more accurate colocalization of the functional signal from different subjects and therefore can produce a more reliable group average signal. We quantitatively compared the performance of the three different registration approaches through a series of experiments and we found that the fully deformable model consistently produces a more accurate structural segmentation and a more reliable functional signal colocalization than does AIR or SPM.
deformable model; atlas-based segmentation; image registration; fMRI
The aim of this exploratory study is to examine the default-mode network (DMN) functional connectivity pattern in elderly depressed subjects with and without comorbid anxiety.
Functional MRI data were collected for 11 elderly depressed subjects with high comorbid anxiety and 8 elderly depressed subjects with low anxiety. We analyzed the resting connectivity patterns of the posterior cingulate cortex. We compared the DMN activity in the elderly depressed subjects with high versus low comorbid anxiety.
Depressed elderly with high comorbid anxiety had increased functional connectivity in the posterior regions of the DMN and decreased functional connectivity in the anterior regions of the DMN.
Elderly depressed subjects with high anxiety display a dissociative pattern of connectivity in the DMN when compared with elderly depressed subjects with low anxiety. These results suggest a unique biological signature of the anxiety symptoms in the context of late-life depression.
White matter hyperintensities (WMH), commonly found on T2-weighted FLAIR brain MR images in the elderly, are associated with a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and late-life depression. Previous MRI studies of WMHs have primarily relied on the subjective and global (i.e., full-brain) ratings of WMH grade. In the current study we implement and validate an automated method for quantifying and localizing WMHs. We adapt a fuzzy connected algorithm to automate the segmentation of WMHs and use a demons-based image registration to automate the anatomic localization of the WMHs using the Johns Hopkins University White Matter Atlas. The method is validated using the brain MR images acquired from eleven elderly subjects with late-onset late-life depression (LLD) and eight elderly controls. This dataset was chosen because LLD subjects are known to have significant WMH burden. The volumes of WMH identified in our automated method are compared with the accepted gold standard (manual ratings). A significant correlation of the automated method and the manual ratings is found (P<0.0001), thus demonstrating similar WMH quantifications of both methods. As has been shown in other studies e.g. (Taylor, et al. 2003)), we found there was a significantly greater WMH burden in the LLD subjects versus the controls for both the manual and automated method. The effect size was greater for the automated method, suggesting that it is a more specific measure. Additionally, we describe the anatomic localization of the WMHs in LLD subjects as well as in the control subjects, and detect the regions of interest (ROIs) specific for the WMH burden of LLD patients. Given the emergence of large neuroimage databases, techniques, such as that described here, will allow for a better understanding of the relationship between WMHs and neuropsychiatric disorders.
White matter hyperintensity; late-onset late-life depression
As the incidence of HIV-associated dementia has decreased, the survival of HIV-infected individuals with milder forms of cognitive impairment has increased. Detecting this milder impairment in its earliest stages has great clinical and research importance. We report here the results of an initial evaluation of the Computer Assessment of Mild Cognitive Impairment (CAMCI®), a computerized screening tool designed to assess abnormal cognitive decline with reduced respondent and test administrator burden. Fifty-nine volunteers (29 HIV infected; age=50.9 years; education=14.9 years; 36/59 males) completed the CAMCI® and a battery of neuropsychological tests. The CAMCI was repeated 12 and 24 weeks later. The results from the CAMCI were compared to Global and Domain Impairment scores derived from the full neuropsychological test battery. The CAMCI detected mild impairment (compared with normal and borderline test performance) with a sensitivity of 0.72, specificity of 0.97, positive predictive rate of 0.93, and a negative predictive rate of 0.89. Median stability over 12 and 24 weeks of follow-up was 0.32 and 0.46, respectively. These rates did not differ as a function of serostatus. A discriminant function analysis correctly classified 90% of the subjects with respect to their overall Global Impairment Rating from six of the CAMCI scores. This preliminary study demonstrates that the CAMCI is sensitive to mild forms of cognitive impairment, and is stable over 24 weeks of follow-up. A larger trial to obtain risk-group appropriate normative data will be necessary to make the instrument useful in both clinical practice and research (e.g., clinical trials).
To evaluate the cause of diagnostic errors in the visual interpretation of positron emission tomography scans with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG-PET) in patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Twelve trained raters unaware of clinical and autopsy information independently reviewed FDG-PET scans and provided their diagnostic impression and confidence of either FTLD or AD. Six of these raters also recorded whether metabolism appeared normal or abnormal in 5 predefined brain regions in each hemisphere – frontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, anterior temporal cortex, temporoparietal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex. Results were compared to neuropathological diagnoses.
Academic medical centers
45 patients with pathologically confirmed FTLD (n=14) or AD (n=31)
Raters had a high degree of diagnostic accuracy in the interpretation of FDG-PET scans; however, raters consistently found some scans more difficult to interpret than others. Unanimity of diagnosis among the raters was more frequent in patients with AD (27/31, 87%) than in patients with FTLD (7/14, 50%) (p = 0.02). Disagreements in interpretation of scans in patients with FTLD largely occurred when there was temporoparietal hypometabolism, which was present in 7 of the 14 FTLD scans and 6 of the 7 lacking unanimity. Hypometabolism of anterior cingulate and anterior temporal regions had higher specificities and positive likelihood ratios for FTLD than temporoparietal hypometabolism had for AD.
Temporoparietal hypometabolism in FTLD is common and may cause inaccurate interpretation of FDG-PET scans. An interpretation paradigm that focuses on the absence of hypometabolism in regions typically affected in AD before considering FTLD is likely to misclassify a significant portion of FTLD scans. Anterior cingulate and/or anterior temporal hypometabolism indicates a high likelihood of FTLD, even when temporoparietal hypometabolism is present. Ultimately, the accurate interpretation of FDG-PET scans in patients with dementia cannot rest on the presence or absence of a single region of hypometabolism, but must take into account the relative hypometabolism of all brain regions.
Population-based brain mapping provides great insight into the trajectory of aging and dementia, as well as brain changes that normally occur over the human life span. We describe three novel brain mapping techniques, cortical thickness mapping, tensor-based morphometry (TBM), and hippocampal surface modeling, which offer enormous power for measuring disease progression in drug trials, and shed light on the neuroscience of brain degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).We report the first time-lapse maps of cortical atrophy spreading dynamically in the living brain, based on averaging data from populations of subjects with Alzheimer’s disease and normal subjects imaged longitudinally with MRI. These dynamic sequences show a rapidly advancing wave of cortical atrophy sweeping from limbic and temporal cortices into higher-order association and ultimately primary sensorimotor areas, in a pattern that correlates with cognitive decline. A complementary technique, TBM, reveals the 3D profile of atrophic rates, at each point in the brain. A third technique, hippocampal surface modeling, plots the profile of shape alterations across the hippocampal surface. The three techniques provide moderate to highly automated analyses of images, have been validated on hundreds of scans, and are sensitive to clinically relevant changes in individual patients and groups undergoing different drug treatments. We compare time-lapse maps of AD, MCI, and other dementias, correlate these changes with cognition, and relate them to similar time-lapse maps of childhood development, schizophrenia, and HIV-associated brain degeneration. Strengths and weaknesses of these different imaging measures for basic neuroscience and drug trials are discussed.
MRI; Alzheimer’s disease; aging; MCI; dementia; brain degeneration; PET
35% of HIV-infected patients have cognitive impairment, but the profile of HIV-induced brain damage is still not well understood. Here we used tensor-based morphometry (TBM) to visualize brain deficits and clinical/anatomical correlations in HIV/AIDS. To perform TBM, we developed a new MRI-based analysis technique that uses fluid image warping, and a new α-entropy-based information-theoretic measure of image correspondence, called the Jensen–Rényi divergence (JRD).
3D T1-weighted brain MRIs of 26 AIDS patients (CDC stage C and/or 3 without HIV-associated dementia; 47.2 ± 9.8 years; 25M/1F; CD4+ T-cell count: 299.5 ± 175.7/µl; log10 plasma viral load: 2.57 ± 1.28 RNA copies/ml) and 14 HIV-seronegative controls (37.6 ± 12.2 years; 8M/6F) were fluidly registered by applying forces throughout each deforming image to maximize the JRD between it and a target image (from a control subject). The 3D fluid registration was regularized using the linearized Cauchy–Navier operator. Fine-scale volumetric differences between diagnostic groups were mapped. Regions were identified where brain atrophy correlated with clinical measures.
Severe atrophy (~15–20% deficit) was detected bilaterally in the primary and association sensorimotor areas. Atrophy of these regions, particularly in the white matter, correlated with cognitive impairment (P=0.033) and CD4+ T-lymphocyte depletion (P=0.005).
TBM facilitates 3D visualization of AIDS neuropathology in living patients scanned with MRI. Severe atrophy in frontoparietal and striatal areas may underlie early cognitive dysfunction in AIDS patients, and may signal the imminent onset of AIDS dementia complex.
Evidence from longitudinal studies in community-dwelling elderly links complaints of urgency and urinary incontinence with structural white matter changes known as white matter hyperintensities (WMH). How WMH might lead to incontinence remains unknown, since information about how they relate to neural circuits involved in continence control is lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of WMH in altered brain activity in older women with urgency incontinence. In a cross-sectional study, we measured WMH, globally and in specific white matter tracts, and correlated them with regional brain activity measured by fMRI (combined with simultaneous urodynamic monitoring) during bladder filling and reported 'urgency'. We postulated that increase in global WMH burden would be associated with changes (either attenuation or reinforcement) in responses to bladder filling in brain regions involved in bladder control. Secondly, we proposed that such apparent effects of global WMH burden might be specifically related to the burden in a few critical white matter pathways. The results showed that regional activations (e.g. medial/superior frontal gyrus adjacent to dorsal ACG) and deactivations (e.g. perigenual ACG adjacent to ventromedial prefrontal cortex) became more prominent with increased global WMH burden, suggesting that activity aimed at suppressing urgency was augmented. Secondary analyses confirmed that the apparent effect of global WMH burden might reflect the presence of WMH in specific pathways (anterior thalamic radiation and superior longitudinal fasciculus), thus affecting connections between key regions and suggesting possible mechanisms involved in continence control.
Phan et al. (2008) recently reported that an acute dose of oral THC is associated with a decrease in threat-related amygdala reactivity during a social threat stimulus task. However, to date, those findings have not been replicated, and have not been extended to clinical studies involving smoked rather than oral cannabis. In this study, we hypothesized that level of cannabis smoked by participants in our treatment study would be inversely related to the level of threat-related amygdala reactivity. Subjects were recruited from among participants in our double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of fluoxetine in comorbid youth with cannabis dependence/major depression. The threat-related amygdala reactivity task used by Hariri et al. (2009) was completed during BOLD fMRI scans at study baseline and then again 12 weeks later at the end of the trial. Data are available from six subjects with pre-and post-treatment fMRI data. During the course of the study, five of the six subjects demonstrated a decrease in their level of cannabis use, with a mean decrease of 64%, and those persons all demonstrated an increase in their level of amygdala reactivity. One subject demonstrated an increase in their level of cannabis use (a 79% increase) during the treatment trial, and that person demonstrated a decrease in their level of amygdala reactivity. Thus, a higher level of cannabis use was consistently associated with a lower level of amygdala reactivity across all subjects (matched pairs t=2.70, df=5, p<0.05, two-tailed). These findings are consistent with the reports by Phan et al. (Phan et al., 2008) and Hariri et al. (Hariri et al., 2009) suggesting that cannabinoids have an inhibitory effect on threat-related amygdala reactivity.
Dual process theories of recognition memory posit that recollection and familiarity represent dissociable processes. Animal studies and human functional imaging experiments support an anatomic dissociation of these processes in the medial temporal lobes (MTL). By this hypothesis, recollection may be dependent on the hippocampus; while familiarity appears to rely on extrahippocampal MTL (ehMTL) structures, particularly perirhinal and lateral entorhinal cortices. Despite these findings, the dual process model and these anatomic mappings remain controversial, in part because the study of patients with lesions to the MTL has been limited and has revealed predominantly single dissociations. We examined measures of recollection and familiarity in three groups (normal older adults, amnesic-Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s Disease) in which these memory measures and the relative integrity of MTL structures are variable, thus enhancing our power to detect MTL-memory relationships. Recollection and familiarity and volumes of hippocampus and ehMTL, defined as a region including entorhinal/perirhinal cortices and parahippocampus, were measured. Regression analyses revealed a stronger relationship of recollection with the hippocampus compared to ehMTL, while familiarity was more highly related to ehMTL compared to hippocampus. These results are consistent with a division of labor in the MTL and the dual process model.
Here we developed a new method, called multivariate tensor-based surface morphometry (TBM), and applied it to study lateral ventricular surface differences associated with HIV/AIDS. Using concepts from differential geometry and the theory of differential forms, we created mathematical structures known as holomorphic one-forms, to obtain an efficient and accurate conformal parameterization of the lateral ventricular surfaces in the brain. The new meshing approach also provides a natural way to register anatomical surfaces across subjects, and improves on prior methods as it handles surfaces that branch and join at complex 3D junctions. To analyze anatomical differences, we computed new statistics from the Riemannian surface metrics - these retain multivariate information on local surface geometry. We applied this framework to analyze lateral ventricular surface morphometry in 3D MRI data from 11 subjects with HIV/AIDS and 8 healthy controls. Our method detected a 3D profile of surface abnormalities even in this small sample. Multivariate statistics on the local tensors gave better effect sizes for detecting group differences, relative to other TBM-based methods including analysis of the Jacobian determinant, the largest and smallest eigenvalues of the surface metric, and the pair of eigenvalues of the Jacobian matrix. The resulting analysis pipeline may improve the power of surface-based morphometry studies of the brain.