Recent studies have linked dopamine to differences in behavior and brain activity in normal individuals. We explored these relationships in older and younger adults by investigating how functional connectivity between the striatum and prefrontal cortex is related to caudate dopamine and verbal working memory task performance. We studied 12 young and 18 older participants with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during this task, and used positron emission tomography with the tracer 6-[18F]-fluoro-L-m-tyrosine (FMT) to assess dopamine synthesis capacity. Younger adults had a greater extent of frontal-caudate functional connectivity during the load-dependent delay period of the working memory task than the older participants. Across all subjects, the extent of this functional connectivity was negatively correlated with dopamine synthesis capacity, such that participants with the greatest connectivity had the lowest caudate FMT signal. Additionally, the extent of functional connectivity was positively correlated with working memory performance. Overall these data suggest interdependencies exist between fronto-striatal functional connectivity, dopamine, and working memory performance and that this system is functioning suboptimally in normal aging.
aging; working memory; dopamine; functional connectivity; FMT
We investigated relationships between glucose metabolism, amyloid load and measures of cognitive and functional impairment in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Patients meeting criteria for probable AD underwent [11C]PIB and [18F]FDG PET imaging and were assessed on a set of clinical measures. PIB Distribution volume ratios and FDG scans were spatially normalized and average PIB counts from regions-of-interest (ROI) were used to compute a measure of global PIB uptake. Separate voxel-wise regressions explored local and global relationships between metabolism, amyloid burden and clinical measures. Regressions reflected cognitive domains assessed by individual measures, with visuospatial tests associated with more posterior metabolism, and language tests associated with metabolism in the left hemisphere. Correlating regional FDG uptake with these measures confirmed these findings. In contrast, no correlations were found between either voxel-wise or regional PIB uptake and any of the clinical measures. Finally, there were no associations between regional PIB and FDG uptake. We conclude that regional and global amyloid burden does not correlate with clinical status or glucose metabolism in AD.
amyloid plaques; amyloidosis; Alzheimer’s disease; glucose metabolism; Pittsburgh compound-B; Fluorodeoxyglucose; dementia severity; cognition
Researchers employing Pittsburgh Compound B positron emission tomography (PIB-PET) imaging have consistently indentified old normal control (oNC) subjects with elevated tracer uptake, suggesting the presence of beta-amyloid deposition in these individuals. However, a consensus regarding the level at which PIB reveals a biologically meaningful signal does not exist (ie. an appropriate cutoff value for PIB positivity remains unclear). In this exploratory study, we sought to investigate the range of PIB distribution volume ratio (DVR) values present in our oNC cohort (N=75, age range=58-97). oNC subjects were classified based on global PIB index values (average DVR across prefrontal, parietal, lateral temporal and cingulate cortices) by employing two approaches: (1) an iterative outlier approach that revealed a cutoff value of 1.16 (IO-cutoff) and (2) an approach using data from a sample of young normal control subjects (N=11, age range=20-30) that yielded a cutoff value of 1.08 (yNC-cutoff). oNC subjects falling above the IO-cutoff had values similar to AD subjects (“PIB+”, 15%). Subjects falling between the 2 cutoffs were considered to have ambiguous PIB status (“Ambig”, 20%) and the remaining oNC were considered “PIB-“ (65%). Additional measures capturing focal DVR magnitude and extent of elevated DVR values were consistent with the classification scheme using PIB index values, and revealed evidence for elevated DVR values in a subset of PIB- oNC subjects. Furthermore, there were a greater proportion of ambiguously elevated values compared to low values, and these elevated values were present in regions known to show amyloid deposition. The analyses presented in this study, in conjunction with recently published pathological data, suggest a biological relevance of slight PIB elevations in aging.
PIB-PET imaging; aging; Alzheimer's disease (AD); beta-amyloid; PIB-positivity; preclinical AD
Attentional processing has been associated with the dorsal attention, default mode, and fronto-parietal control networks. The dorsal attention network is involved in externally focused attention whereas the default mode network is involved in internally directed attention. The fronto-parietal control network has been proposed to mediate the transition between external and internal attention by coupling its activity to either the dorsal attention network or the default mode network depending on the attentional demand. Dopamine is hypothesized to modulate attention and has been linked to the integrity of these three attention-related networks. We used positron emission tomography (PET) with 6-[18F]fluoro-L-m-tyrosine to quantify dopamine synthesis capacity in vivo and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to acquire stimulus-independent brain activity in cognitively healthy human subjects. We found that in the resting state where internal cognition dominates, dopamine enhances the coupling between the fronto-parietal control network and the default mode network while reducing the coupling between the fronto-parietal control network and the dorsal attention network. These results add a neurochemical perspective to the role of network interaction in modulating attention.
The development of Aβ-PET imaging agents has allowed for detection of fibrillar Aβ deposition in vivo and marks a major advancement in understanding the role of Aβ in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Imaging Aβ thus has many potential clinical benefits: early or perhaps preclinical detection of disease and accurately distinguishing AD from dementias of other non-Aβ causes in patients presenting with mild or atypical symptoms or confounding comorbidities (in which the distinction is difficult to make clinically). From a research perspective, imaging Aβ allows us to study relationships between amyloid pathology and changes in cognition, brain structure, and function across the continuum from normal aging to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to AD; and to monitor the effectiveness of anti-Aβ drugs and relate them to neurodegeneration and clinical symptoms. Here, we will discuss the application of one of the most broadly studied and widely used Aβ imaging agents, Pittsburgh Compound-B (PiB).
Cognitive flexibility, or the ability to change behavior in response to external cues, is conceptualized as two processes: one for shifting between perceptual features of objects and another for shifting between the abstract rules governing the selection of these objects. Object and rule shifts are believed to engage distinct anatomical structures and functional processes. Dopamine activity has been associated with cognitive flexibility, but patients with dopaminergic deficits are not impaired on all tasks assessing cognitive flexibility, suggesting that dopamine may have different roles in the shifting of objects and rules. The goals of this study were to identify brain regions supporting object and rule shifts and to examine the role of dopamine in modulating these two forms of cognitive flexibility. Sixteen young, healthy subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a setshift task designed to differentiate shifting between object features from shifting between abstract task rules. Subjects also underwent positron emission tomography with 6-[18F]-fluoro-L-m-tyrosine (FMT), a radiotracer measuring dopamine synthesis capacity. Shifts of abstract rules were not associated with activation in any brain region, and FMT uptake did not correlate with rule shift performance. Shifting between object features deactivated the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate and activated the lateral prefrontal cortex, posterior parietal areas, and the striatum. FMT signal in the striatum correlated negatively with object shift performance and deactivation in the medial prefrontal cortex, a component of the default mode network, suggesting that dopamine influences object shifts via modulation of activity in the default mode network.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of progressive cognitive decline and dementia in adults. While the amyloid cascade hypothesis of AD posits an initiating role for the β-amyloid (Aβ) protein, there is limited understanding of why Aβ is deposited. A growing body of evidence based on in vitro, animal studies and human imaging work suggests that synaptic activity increases Aβ, which is deposited preferentially in multimodal brain regions that show continuous levels of heightened activation and plasticity across the lifespan. Imaging studies of people with genetic predispositions to AD are consistent with these findings, suggesting a mechanism whereby neural efficiency or cognitive reserve may diminish Aβ deposition. The aggregated findings unify observations from cellular and molecular studies with human cognitive neuroscience to reveal potential mechanisms of AD development.
Although beta-amyloid (Aβ) deposition is a characteristic feature of Alzheimer's disease (AD), this pathology is commonly found in elderly normal controls (NC). The pattern of Aβ deposition as detected with Pittsburgh compound-B positron emission tomography (PIB-PET) imaging shows substantial spatial overlap with the default mode network (DMN), a group of brain regions that typically deactivates during externally driven cognitive tasks. In this study, we show that DMN functional connectivity (FC) during rest is altered with increasing levels of PIB uptake in NC. Specifically, FC decreases were identified in regions implicated in episodic memory (EM) processing (posteromedial cortex, ventral medial prefrontal cortex, and angular gyrus), whereas connectivity increases were detected in dorsal and anterior medial prefrontal and lateral temporal cortices. This pattern of decreases is consistent with previous studies that suggest heightened vulnerability of EM-related brain regions in AD, whereas the observed increases in FC may reflect a compensatory response.
aging; beta-amyloid; PIB-PET; resting state fMRI
Age-related deficits have been demonstrated in working memory performance and in the dopamine system thought to support it. We performed positron emission tomography (PET) scans on 12 younger (mean 22.7 years) and 19 older (mean 65.8 years) adults using the radiotracer 6-[18F]-fluoro-L-m-tyrosine (FMT), which measures dopamine synthesis capacity. Subjects also underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing a delayed recognition working memory task. We evaluated age-related fMRI activity differences and examined how they related to FMT signal variations in dorsal caudate within each age group. In posterior cingulate cortex and precuneus (PCC/Pc), older adults showed diminished fMRI deactivations during memory recognition compared with younger adults. Greater task-induced deactivation (in younger adults only) was associated both with higher FMT signal and with worse memory performance. Our results suggest that dopamine synthesis helps modulate default network activity in younger adults and that alterations to the dopamine system may contribute to age-related changes in working memory function.
aging; caudate; fMRI; FMT; PET; AADC
The Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) and Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale – cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) are frequently-used indices of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The goal of this study was to compare FDG-PET and clinical measurements in a large sample of elderly subjects with memory disturbance. We examined relationships between glucose metabolism in FDG-PET regions of interest (FDG-ROIs), and ADAS-cog and FAQ scores in AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients enrolled in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). Low glucose metabolism at baseline predicted subsequent ADAS-cog and FAQ decline. In addition, longitudinal glucose metabolism decline was associated with concurrent ADAS-cog and FAQ decline. Additionally, a power analysis revealed that FDG-ROI values have greater statistical power than ADAS-cog to detect attenuation of cognitive decline in AD and MCI patients. Glucose metabolism is a sensitive measure of change in cognition and functional ability in AD and MCI, and has value in predicting future cognitive decline.
FDG-PET; Alzheimer’s disease; Mild Cognitive Impairment
The National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association charged a workgroup with the task of developing criteria for the symptomatic predementia phase of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), referred to in this article as mild cognitive impairment due to AD. The workgroup developed the following two sets of criteria: (1) core clinical criteria that could be used by healthcare providers without access to advanced imaging techniques or cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and (2) research criteria that could be used in clinical research settings, including clinical trials. The second set of criteria incorporate the use of biomarkers based on imaging and cerebrospinal fluid measures. The final set of criteria for mild cognitive impairment due to AD has four levels of certainty, depending on the presence and nature of the biomarker findings. Considerable work is needed to validate the criteria that use biomarkers and to standardize biomarker analysis for use in community settings.
Mild cognitive impairment; AD dementia; Diagnosis
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.
Although deposition of β-amyloid (Aβ), a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), has also been reported in cognitively intact older people, its influence on brain structure and cognition during normal aging remains controversial. Using PET imaging with the radiotracer Pittsburgh compound B (PIB), structural MRI, and cognitive measures, we examined the relationships between Aβ deposition, gray matter volume, and cognition in older people without AD. Fifty-two healthy older participants underwent PIB-PET and structural MRI scanning and detailed neuropsychological tests. Results from the whole-brain voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis revealed that gray matter volume in the left inferior frontal cortex was negatively associated with amyloid deposition across all participants whereas reduced gray matter volume was shown in the posterior cingulate among older people with high amyloid deposition. When gray matter density measures extracted from these two regions were related to other brain regions by applying a structural covariance analysis, distinctive frontal and posterior brain networks were seen. Gray matter volume in these networks in relation to cognition, however, differed such that reduced frontal network gray matter volume was associated with poorer working memory performance while no relationship was found for the posterior network. The present findings highlight structural and cognitive changes in association with the level of Aβ deposition in cognitively intact normal elderly and suggest a differential role of Aβ – dependent gray matter loss in the frontal and posterior networks in cognition during normal aging.
Aging; Amyloid; PIB-PET; cognition; human; VBM
The purpose of this study was to examine how a specific informant-based measure of everyday functioning, the Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE; Jorm & Korten, 1988) relates to cognition and structural neuroimaging in a large multicultural, multilingual sample of Caucasians and Hispanics. Cognitive variables included selected subtests from the Spanish and English Neuropsychological Assessment Scales (SENAS; Mungas et al., 2000): Verbal Memory, Object Naming, Verbal Attention Span, Verbal Conceptual Thinking, and Pattern Recognition. The association between the IQCODE and selected neuroimaging variables, hippocampal volume and white matter hyperintensity, was evaluated in a subsample of English- and Spanish-speaking Hispanic individuals. The cognitive variables showed strong bivariate relationships with the IQCODE, although only Verbal Memory and Object Naming independently predicted level of functional ability. Verbal Memory was the strongest predictor of functional status, accounting for 23% of the variance in the IQCODE. White matter hyperintensity was also independently related to the IQCODE, accounting for 18% of the variance. Hippocampal volume was related to the IQCODE in a simple bivariate analysis, but was not an independent predictor of reported functional status after controlling for age. The relationships between cognitive variables and functional status, as well as between the imaging variables and the IQCODE, did not differ across language-ethnic groups.
Activities of daily living; Neuropsychology; Dementia; Older adults
Improved diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are needed for our military and veterans, their families, and society at large. Advances in brain imaging offer important biomarkers of structural, functional, and metabolic information concerning the brain. This article reviews the application of various imaging techniques to the clinical problems of TBI and PTSD. For TBI, we focus on findings and advances in neuroimaging that hold promise for better detection, characterization, and monitoring of objective brain changes in symptomatic patients with combat-related, closed-head brain injuries not readily apparent by standard computed tomography or conventional magnetic resonance imaging techniques.
diagnosis; diffusion tensor imaging; fMRI; neuroimaging; OIF/OEF; posttraumatic stress disorder; PTSD; TBI; traumatic brain injury; veterans
Amyloid imaging with [11 C]Pittsburgh Compound-B (PiB) provides in vivo data on plaque deposition in those with, or at risk for, Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We performed a gene-based association analysis of 15 quality-controlled amyloid-pathway associated candidate genes in 103 Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative participants. The mean normalized PiB uptake value across four brain regions known to have amyloid deposition in AD was used as a quantitative phenotype. The minor allele of an intronic SNP within DHCR24 was identified and associated with a lower average PiB uptake. Further investigation at whole-brain voxel-wise level indicated that non-carriers of the minor allele had higher PiB uptake in frontal regions compared to carriers. DHCR24 has been previously shown to confer resistance against beta-amyloid and oxidative stress-induced apoptosis, thus our findings support a neuroprotective role. Pathway-based genetic analysis of targeted molecular imaging phenotypes appears promising to help elucidate disease pathophysiology and identify potential therapeutic targets.
Alzheimer’s disease; ADNI; Pathway-based gene analysis; PiB-PET; Endophenotype; Voxel-based analysis
The availability of new PET ligands offers the potential to measure fibrillar β-amyloid in the brain. Nevertheless, physiological information in the form of perfusion or metabolism may still be useful in differentiating causes of dementia during life. In this study we investigated whether early 11C-PIB PET frames (perfusion, pPIB) can provide information equivalent to blood flow and metabolism by assessing the similarity of pPIB and 18F-FDG PET images first in a test cohort with various clinical diagnoses (N=10) and then validating the results on a cohort of Alzheimer’s disease (AD, N=42, age 66.6±10.6, MMSE 22.2±6.0) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD, N=31, age 63.9±7.1, MMSE 23.8±6.7) patients.
To identify the 11C-PIB frames best representing perfusion, an iterative algorithm was run on the test cohort. This included: (1) generating normalized (cerebellar reference) perfusion pPIB images across variable frame ranges, and (2) calculating Pearson’s R values of the sum of these pPIB frames with the sum of all 18F-FDG frames (cerebellar normalized) for all brain tissue voxels. Once this perfusion frame range was determined on the test cohort, it was then validated on an extended cohort and the power of pPIB in differential diagnosis was compared to 18F-FDG by performing a logistic regression of ROI tracer measure (pPIB or 18F-FDG) versus diagnosis.
A seven-minute window, corresponding to minutes 1–8 (frame 5–15) produced the highest voxel-wise correlation between 18F-FDG and pPIB (R=0.78±0.05). This pPIB frame range was further validated on the extended AD and FTLD cohort across 12 ROIs (R=0.91±0.09). A logistic model using pPIB was able to classify 90.5% of the AD and 83.9% of the FTLD patients correctly. Using 18F-FDG, 88.1% of AD and 83.9% of FTLD patients were classified correctly. The temporal pole and the temporal neocortex were significant discriminators (p<0.05) in both models, whereas in the model with pPIB the frontal region was also significant.
The high correlation between pPIB and 18F-FDG measures and their comparable performance in differential diagnosis is promising in providing functional information using 11C-PIB PET data. This could be a useful approach, obviating the need for 18F-FDG scans when longer-lived amyloid imaging agents become available
Pittsburgh compound-B (11C-PIB); perfusion; 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG); Aβ-amyloid plaques; cerebral glucose metabolism
This is a progress report of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) PET Core.
The Core has supervised the acquisition, quality control, and analysis of longitudinal [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose PET (FDG-PET) data in approximately half of the ADNI cohort. In an “add on” study, approximately 100 subjects also underwent scanning with [11C]PIB-PET for amyloid imaging. The Core developed quality control procedures and standardized image acquisition by developing an imaging protocol that has been widely adopted in academic and pharmaceutical industry studies. Data processing provides users with scans that have identical orientation and resolution characteristics despite acquisition on multiple scanner models. The Core labs have used a number of different approaches to characterize differences between subject groups (AD, MCI, controls), to examine longitudinal change over time in glucose metabolism and amyloid deposition, and to assess the use of FDG-PET as a potential outcome measure in clinical trials.
ADNI data indicate that FDG-PET increases statistical power over traditional cognitive measures, might aid subject selection, and could substantially reduce the sample size in a clinical trial. PIB-PET data showed expected group differences, and identified subjects with significant annual increases in amyloid load across the subject groups. The next activities of the PET core in ADNI will entail developing standardized protocols for amyloid imaging using the [18F]-labeled amyloid imaging agent AV45, which can be delivered to virtually all ADNI sites.
ADNI has demonstrated the feasibility and utility of multicenter PET studies and is helping to clarify the role of biomarkers in the study of aging and dementia.
PET; fluorodeoxyglucose; amyloid imaging; biomarkers
The definition of regions of interest for PET data analysis poses a number of complex problems. While studies have shown that regions drawn on a template can be appropriate for extracting data for normal healthy subjects, it is unclear how these results can be applied to different populations. In this study, we focused on the aging population and examined how different parameters in the template data-extraction process may affect the accuracy of the results. We first present an automated method for extracting PET counts using a region-of-interest approach within a template framework. Then, we discuss two studies in which we measure the effects of varying specific parameters in this process. In study 1 we examined three parameters that may influence this process: choice of template, region, and threshold. In study 2 we focused on the hippocampus. We considered 6 different templates, and examined how well the subject-specific hippocampal masks overlapped with each other and with the template hippocampal masks after normalization. While the data in the older cohort is more variable than the normal population, the results suggest that using an appropriate template and selecting the correct parameters for the template-based ROI method can provide template-extracted counts that are highly correlated to counts extracted using subject-specific ROIs.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) measures of Ab and tau, Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB) imaging and hippocampal atrophy are promising Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers yet the associations between them are not known. We applied a validated, automated hippocampal labeling method and 3D radial distance mapping to the 1.5T structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data of 388 ADNI subjects with baseline CSF Ab42, total tau (t-tau) and phosphorylated tau (p-tau181) and 98 subjects with positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using PIB. We used linear regression to investigate associations between hippocampal atrophy and average cortical, parietal and precuneal PIB standardized uptake value ratio (SUVR) and CSF Ab42, t-tau, p-tau181, t-tau/Ab42 and p-tau181/Ab42. All CSF measures showed significant associations with hippocampal volume and radial distance in the pooled sample. Strongest correlations were seen for p-tau181, followed by p-tau181/Ab42 ratio, t-tau/Ab42 ratio, t-tau and Ab42. p-tau181 showed stronger correlation in ApoE4 carriers, while t-tau showed stronger correlation in ApoE4 noncarriers. Of the 3 PIB measures the precuneal SUVR showed strongest associations with hippocampal atrophy.
Alzheimer’s disease; MRI; Magnetic resonance imaging; Imaging; PIB; Amyloid imaging; Abeta; tau; Hippocampus; Atrophy; Biomarkers; ADNI
The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) beginning in October 2004, is a 6-year re-search project that studies changes of cognition, function, brain structure and function, and biomarkers in elderly controls, subjects with mild cognitive impairment, and subjects with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A major goal is to determine and validate MRI, PET images, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)/blood biomarkers as predictors and outcomes for use in clinical trials of AD treatments. Structural MRI, FDG PET, C-11 Pittsburgh compound B (PIB) PET, CSF measurements of amyloid β (Aβ) and species of tau, with clinical/cognitive measurements were performed on elderly controls, subjects with mild cognitive impairment, and subjects with AD. Structural MRI shows high rates of brain atrophy, and has high statistical power for determining treatment effects. FDG PET, C-11 Pittsburgh compound B PET, and CSF measurements of Aβ and tau were significant predictors of cognitive decline and brain atrophy. All data are available at UCLA/LONI/ADNI, without embargo. ADNI-like projects started in Australia, Europe, Japan, and Korea. ADNI provides significant new information concerning the progression of AD.
ADNI; Alzheimer’s disease; MRI; PET; Amyloid; Memory; Tau
We performed a pilot randomized, controlled trial of intensive, computer-based cognitive training in 47 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The intervention group performed exercises specifically designed to improve auditory processing speed and accuracy for 100 minutes/day, 5 days/week for 6 weeks; the control group performed more passive computer activities (reading, listening, visuospatial game) for similar amounts of time. Subjects had a mean age of 74 years and 60% were men; 77% successfully completed training. On our primary outcome, Repeatable Battery for Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) total scores improved 0.36 standard deviations (SD) in the intervention group (p=0.097) compared to 0.03 SD in the control group (p=0.88) for a non-significant difference between the groups of 0.33 SD (p=0.26). On 12 secondary outcome measures, most differences between the groups were not statistically significant. However, we observed a pattern in which effect sizes for verbal learning and memory measures tended to favor the intervention group while effect sizes for language and visuospatial function measures tended to favor the control group, which raises the possibility that these training programs may have domain-specific effects. We conclude that intensive, computer-based mental activity is feasible in subjects with MCI and that larger trials are warranted.
human; aged; cognition; cognitive rehabilitation; memory; neuropsychological tests; randomized controlled trial; mild cognitive impairment
In mostly small single-center studies, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is associated with characteristic and progressive reductions in fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) measurements of the regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (CMRgl). The AD Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) is acquiring FDG PET, volumetric magnetic resonance imaging, and other biomarker measurements in a large longitudinal multi-center study of initially mildly affected probable AD (pAD) patients, amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) patients, who are at increased AD risk, and cognitively normal controls (NC), and we are responsible for analyzing the PET images using statistical parametric mapping (SPM). Here we compare baseline CMRgl measurements from 74 pAD patients and 142 aMCI patients to those from 82 NC, we correlate CMRgl with categorical and continuous measures of clinical disease severity, and we compare apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 carriers to non-carriers in each of these subject groups. In comparison with NC, the pAD and aMCI groups each had significantly lower CMRgl bilaterally in posterior cingulate, precuneus, parietotemporal and frontal cortex. Similar reductions were observed when categories of disease severity or lower Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) scores were correlated with lower CMRgl. However, when analyses were restricted to the pAD patients, lower MMSE scores were significantly correlated with lower left frontal and temporal CMRgl. These findings from a large, multi-site study support previous single-site findings, supports the characteristic pattern of baseline CMRgl reductions in AD and aMCI patients, as well as preferential anterior CMRgl reductions after the onset of AD dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease; MCI; MMSE; Positron Emission Tomography
Past research has demonstrated that performance on frontal lobe-dependent tasks is associated with dopamine system integrity, and that various dopamine system deficits occur with aging. The positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer 6-[18F]-fluoro-L-m-tyrosine (FMT) is a substrate of the dopamine-synthesizing enzyme, aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC). Studies using 6-[18F]fluorodopa (FDOPA) (another AADC substrate) to measure how striatal PET signal and age relate have had inconsistent outcomes. The varying results occur in part from tracer processing that renders FDOPA signal subject to aspects of post-release metabolism, which may themselves change with aging. In contrast, FMT remains a purer measure of AADC function. We used partial volume corrected FMT PET scans to measure age-related striatal dopamine synthesis capacity in 21 older (mean 66.9) and 16 younger (mean 22.8) healthy adults. We also investigated how striatal FMT signal related to a cognitive measure of frontal lobe function. Older adults showed significantly greater striatal FMT signal than younger adults. Within the older group, FMT signal in dorsal caudate (DCA) and dorsal putamen (DPUT) was greater with age, suggesting compensation for deficits elsewhere in the dopamine system. In younger adults, FMT signal in DCA was lower with age, likely related to ongoing developmental processes. Younger adults who performed worse on tests of frontal lobe function showed greater FMT signal in right DCA, independent of age effects. Our data suggest that higher striatal FMT signal represents non-optimal dopamine processing. They further support a relationship between striatal dopamine processing and frontal lobe cognitive function.
FMT; PET; normal aging; striatum; cognition; aromatic amino acid decarboxylase; dopa decarboxylase; caudate; putamen; basal ganglia; prefrontal; upregulation
Eating behavior may be affected by dopamine synthesis capacity. In this study, 6-[18F]-fluoro-L-m-tyrosine (FMT) positron emission tomography (PET) uptake in striatal subregions was correlated with BMI (kg/m2) and an estimate of the frequency of prior weight loss attempts in 15 healthy subjects. BMI was negatively correlated with FMT uptake in the dorsal caudate. Although the association between BMI and FMT uptake in the dorsal caudate was not significant upon correction for age and sex, the association fell within the range of a statistical trend. Weight loss attempts divided by years trying was also negatively correlated with FMT uptake in the dorsal putamen (P = .05). These results suggest an association between low dorsal striatal presynaptic dopamine synthesis capacity and overeating behavior.