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1.  A Cognitive Training Program Based on Principles of Brain Plasticity: Results from the Improvement in Memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training (IMPACT) Study 
To investigate the efficacy of a novel brain plasticity–based computerized cognitive training program in older adults and to evaluate the effect on untrained measures of memory and attention and participant-reported outcomes.
Multisite randomized controlled double-blind trial with two treatment groups.
Communities in northern and southern California and Minnesota.
Community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older (N = 487) without a diagnosis of clinically significant cognitive impairment.
Participants were randomized to receive a broadly-available brain plasticity–based computerized cognitive training program (intervention) or a novelty- and intensity-matched general cognitive stimulation program modeling treatment as usual (active control). Duration of training was 1 hour per day, 5 days per week, for 8 weeks, for a total of 40 hours.
The primary outcome was a composite score calculated from six subtests of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status that use the auditory modality (RBANS Auditory Memory/Attention). Secondary measures were derived from performance on the experimental program, standardized neuropsychological assessments of memory and attention, and participant-reported outcomes.
RBANS Auditory Memory/Attention improvement was significantly greater (P = .02) in the experimental group (3.9 points, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.7–5.1) than in the control group (1.8 points, 95% CI = 0.6–3.0). Multiple secondary measures of memory and attention showed significantly greater improvements in the experimental group (word list total score, word list delayed recall, digits backwards, letter–number sequencing; P < .05), as did the participant-reported outcome measure (P = .001). No advantage for the experimental group was seen in narrative memory.
The experimental program improved generalized measures of memory and attention more than an active control program.
PMCID: PMC4169294  PMID: 19220558
clinical trial; cognitive decline; computerized cognitive training; participant-reported outcomes; brain plasticity
2.  Abnormal daytime sleepiness in dementia with Lewy bodies compared to Alzheimer’s disease using the Multiple Sleep Latency Test 
Excessive daytime sleepiness is a commonly reported problem in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We examined the relationship between nighttime sleep continuity and the propensity to fall asleep during the day in clinically probable DLB compared to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia.
A full-night polysomnography was carried out in 61 participants with DLB and 26 with AD dementia. Among this group, 32 participants with DLB and 18 with AD dementia underwent a daytime Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). Neuropathologic examinations of 20 participants with DLB were carried out.
Although nighttime sleep efficiency did not differentiate diagnostic groups, the mean MSLT initial sleep latency was significantly shorter in participants with DLB than in those with AD dementia (mean 6.4 ± 5 minutes vs 11 ± 5 minutes, P <0.01). In the DLB group, 81% fell asleep within 10 minutes compared to 39% of the AD dementia group (P <0.01), and 56% in the DLB group fell asleep within 5 minutes compared to 17% in the AD dementia group (P <0.01). Daytime sleepiness in AD dementia was associated with greater dementia severity, but mean MSLT latency in DLB was not related to dementia severity, sleep efficiency the night before, or to visual hallucinations, fluctuations, parkinsonism or rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. These data suggest that abnormal daytime sleepiness is a unique feature of DLB that does not depend on nighttime sleep fragmentation or the presence of the four cardinal DLB features. Of the 20 DLB participants who underwent autopsy, those with transitional Lewy body disease (brainstem and limbic) did not differ from those with added cortical pathology (diffuse Lewy body disease) in dementia severity, DLB core features or sleep variables.
Daytime sleepiness is more likely to occur in persons with DLB than in those with AD dementia. Daytime sleepiness in DLB may be attributed to disrupted brainstem and limbic sleep–wake physiology, and further work is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4266572  PMID: 25512763
3.  Nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment progresses to dementia with Lewy bodies 
Neurology  2013;81(23):2032-2038.
To determine the rate of progression of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
We followed 337 patients with MCI in the Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (range 2–12 years). Competing risks survival models were used to examine the rates of progression to clinically probable DLB and Alzheimer disease (AD). A subset of patients underwent neuropathologic examination.
In this clinical cohort, 116 remained as MCI, while 49 progressed to probable DLB, 162 progressed to clinically probable AD, and 10 progressed to other dementias. Among nonamnestic MCI, progression rate to probable DLB was 20 events per 100 person-years and to probable AD was 1.6 per 100 person-years. Among amnestic MCI, progression rate to probable AD was 17 events per 100 person-years, and to DLB was 1.5 events per 100 person-years. In 88% of those who developed probable DLB, the baseline MCI diagnosis included attention and/or visuospatial deficits. Those who developed probable DLB were more likely to have baseline daytime sleepiness and subtle parkinsonism. In 99% of the clinically probable AD group, the baseline MCI diagnosis included memory impairment. Neuropathologic confirmation was obtained in 24 of 30 of those with clinically probable AD, and in 14 of 18 of those with clinically probable DLB.
In a clinical sample, patients with nonamnestic MCI were more likely to develop DLB, and those with amnestic MCI were more likely to develop probable AD.
PMCID: PMC3854825  PMID: 24212390
4.  Neurocognitive speed associates with frontotemporal lobar degeneration TDP-43 subtypes 
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is pathologically heterogeneous with TAR DNA binding protein 43 kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy the most common substrate. Previous work has identified atrophy patterns across TDP-43 subtypes with Type A showing greater frontotemporal and parietal atrophy, Type C predominantly anterior temporal, and Type B predominantly posterior frontal. Despite neuroanatomical correlates of involvement, neuropsychological findings have been inconsistent. The current study utilized broader neurocognitive domains based on aggregated neuropsychological measures to distinguish between subtypes. We hypothesized that patterns of neurocognitive domain impairments would predict FTLD–TDP-43 subtype. Fifty-one patients, aged 38–87, were identified post mortem with pathologically confirmed FTLD with TDP-43. Participants were classified into subtypes A, B, or C. Patients had completed neuropsychological assessments as part of their clinical evaluation. Six cognitive domains were created: Language; Cognitive Speed; Memory; Learning; Visuoperception; and Fluency. Binary logistic regression was conducted. All but three patients could be classified as FTLD–TDP Types A, B, or C: 26 as Type A; nine as Type B; and 13 as Type C. Cognitive Speed scores were associated with Types A and C (p < 0.001 and p = 0.003, respectively). Impaired performances on the Trail Making Test differentiated Types A and C. Worse Boston Naming Test and Logical Memory (Immediate) (p < 0.05) scores also increased the likelihood of Type C phenotype. Findings suggest Cognitive Speed associates with TDP-43 subtypes. Type C also demonstrated language-specific involvement. Differences between TDP-43 subtypes further supports the notion of differences in pathophysiology or topography across these types.
PMCID: PMC3825760  PMID: 24012243
Cognitive speed; Dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Neuropathology; Neuropsychology; TDP-43
5.  Dissociable executive functions in behavioral variant frontotemporal and Alzheimer dementias 
Neurology  2013;80(24):2180-2185.
The objective of this study was to determine which aspects of executive functions are most affected in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and best differentiate this syndrome from Alzheimer disease (AD).
We compared executive functions in 22 patients diagnosed with bvFTD, 26 with AD, and 31 neurologically healthy controls using a conceptually driven and comprehensive battery of executive function tests, the NIH EXAMINER battery (
The bvFTD and the AD patients were similarly impaired compared with controls on tests of working memory, category fluency, and attention, but the patients with bvFTD showed significantly more severe impairments than the patients with AD on tests of letter fluency, antisaccade accuracy, social decision-making, and social behavior. Discriminant function analysis with jackknifed cross-validation classified the bvFTD and AD patient groups with 73% accuracy.
Executive function assessment can support bvFTD diagnosis when measures are carefully selected to emphasize frontally specific functions.
PMCID: PMC3721104  PMID: 23658382
6.  Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Concept and Diagnostic Entity in Need of Input from Neuropsychology 
This virtual issue consists of studies previously published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society and selected on the basis of their content related to one of the most highly researched concepts in behavioral neurology and neuropsychology over the past decade: mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The reliance on cognitive screening measures, staging-based rating scales, and limited neuropsychological testing in diagnosing MCI across most research studies may miss individuals with subtle cognitive declines or mis-diagnose MCI in those who are otherwise cognitively normal on a broader neuropsychological battery of tests. The assembled articles highlight the perils of relying on these conventional criteria for MCI diagnosis and reveal how the reliability of diagnosis is improved when sound neuropsychological approaches are adopted. When these requirements are met, we illustrate with a second series of articles that neuropsychological measures associate strongly with biomarkers and often reflect pathology beyond or instead of typical AD distributions. The final set of articles reveal that people with MCI demonstrate mild but identifiable functional difficulties, and a challenge for neuropsychology is how to incorporate this information to better define MCI and distinguish it from early dementia. Neuropsychology is uniquely positioned to improve upon the state of the science in MCI research and practice by providing critically important empirical information on the specific cognitive domains affected by the predominant neurodegenerative disorders of late life as well as on the diagnostic decision-making strategies used in studies. When such efforts to more comprehensively assess neuropsychological functions are undertaken, better characterizations of spared and impaired cognitive and functional abilities result and lead to more convincing associations with other biomarkers as well as to prediction of clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4039178  PMID: 24490866
Mild cognitive impairment; Alzheimer’s disease; Neuropsychology; Episodic memory; Semantic memory; Executive functions; Neuroimaging; Magnetic resonance imaging; Functional MRI; Diffusion tensor imaging; Cerebrospinal fluid; Biomarkers; Activities of daily living; Functional capacity
7.  What is the quality of life in the oldest old? 
International psychogeriatrics / IPA  2011;23(6):1003-1010.
Maintaining and improving quality of life has become a major focus in geriatric medicine, but the oldest old have received limited attention in clinical investigations. We aimed to investigate the relationship between self-perceived and caregiver-perceived quality of life (QOL), cognitive functioning, and depressive symptoms in the oldest old.
This IRB-approved prospective study recruited community dwellers aged 90–99 years old. Collected data included neurological evaluation, DSM III-R criteria for dementia, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Dementia Rating Scale (DRS), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Record of Independent Living (ROIL), and QOL assessment using the Linear Analogue Self Assessment (LASA).
Data on 144 subjects (56 cognitively normal (normal), 13 mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 41 dementia (DEM), 34 dementia with stroke and parkinsonism (DEMSP)) over a three-year period were analyzed. Mean ages ranged from 93 to 94 years, and the majority were female with at least high school education. Overall functional ability was higher in groups without dementia (p < 0.0001). All subjects reported high overall QOL (range 6.76–8.3 out of 10), regardless of cognitive functioning. However, caregivers perceived the subjects’ overall QOL to be lower with increasing severity of cognitive impairment (p < 0.0001). Lower GDS scores correlate with higher self-perceived overall QOL (ρ = −0.38, p < 0.0001).
In our community sample of the oldest old, there was a fairly high level of overall QOL, whether or not cognitive impairment exists. Individuals perceive their QOL better than caregivers do, and the difference in subjects’ and caregivers’ perception is more pronounced for the groups with dementia. QOL is more strongly correlated with depressive symptoms than with dementia severity.
PMCID: PMC3924179  PMID: 21281556
geriatric; well being; cognition; depression; dementia; stroke; parkinsonism; MCI
8.  Successful Aging: Definitions and Prediction of Longevity and Conversion to Mild Cognitive Impairment 
To examine alternative models of defining and characterizing successful aging.
A retrospective cohort study
Olmsted County, MN.
560 community-dwelling non-demented adults, aged 65 years and older.
Three models were developed. Each model examined subtests in four cognitive domains: memory, attention/executive function, language, and visual-spatial skills. A composite domain score was generated for each of the four domains. In Model 1, a global z-score was further generated from the four cognitive domains, and subjects with mean global z-score in the top 10% were classified as “successful agers” whereas those in the remaining 90% were classified as “typical agers”. In Model 2, subjects with all 4 domain scores above the 50th percentile were classified as “successful agers.” In Model 3, a primary neuropsychological variable was selected from each domain, and subjects whose score remained above minus 1 SD compared to norms for young adults were labeled successful agers. Validation tests were conducted to determine the ability of each model to predict survival and conversion to mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Model 1 showed 65% lower mortality in successful agers compared to typical agers, and also a 25% lower conversion rate to MCI.
Model 1 was most strongly associated with longevity and cognitive decline; as such, it can be useful in investigating various predictors of successful aging, including plasma level, APOE genotype, and neuroimaging measurements.
PMCID: PMC3918503  PMID: 21606901
successful aging; optimal aging; longevity; cognitive decline
9.  Polysomnographic Findings in Dementia With Lewy Bodies 
The neurologist  2013;19(1):1-6.
The clinical features of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) during wakefulness are well known. Other than REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), only limited data exists on other sleep disturbances and disorders in DLB. We sought to characterize the polysomnographic (PSG) findings in a series of DLB patients with sleep-related complaints.
Retrospective study of patients with DLB who underwent clinical PSG at Mayo Clinic Rochester or Mayo Clinic Jacksonville over an almost 11 year span for evaluation of dream enactment behavior, excessive nocturnal movements, sleep apnea, hypersomnolence, or insomnia. The following variables were analyzed: respiratory disturbance index (RDI) in disordered breathing events/hour, periodic limb movement arousal index (PLMAI), arousals for no apparent reason (AFNAR), total arousal index (TAI), presence of REM sleep without atonia (RSWA), and percent sleep efficiency (SE).
Data on 78 patients (71M, 7F) were analyzed. The mean age was 71 ± 8 years. Seventy-five (96%) patients had histories of recurrent dream enactment during sleep with 83% showing confirmation of RSWA +/- dream enactment during PSG. Mean RDI = 11.9 ± 5.8, PLMAI = 5.9 ± 8.5, AFNARI = 10.7 ± 12.0, and TAI = 26.6 ± 17.4. SE was <80% in 72% of the sample, <70% in 49%, and <60% in 24%. In patients who did not show evidence of significant disordered breathing (23 with RDI<5), 62% of arousals were AFNARs. In those patients who had significant disordered breathing (55 with RDI ≥ 5), 36% of arousals were AFNARs. Six patients underwent evaluations with PSG plus MSLT. Two patients had mean initial sleep latencies less than five minutes, and both had RDI<5. No patient had any sleep onset rapid eye movement periods. Nineteen patients have undergone neuropathologic examination, and 18 have had limbic- or neocortical-predominant Lewy body pathology. One had progressive supranuclear palsy, but no REM sleep was recorded in prior PSG.
In patients with DLB and sleep-related complaints, several sleep disturbances in addition to RBD are frequently present. In this sample, about three quarters had a significant number of arousals not accounted for by a movement or breathing disturbance, and the primary sleep disorders do not appear to entirely account for the poor sleep efficiency in DLB, especially in those without a significant breathing disorder. Further studies are warranted to better understand the relationship between disturbed sleep, arousal and DLB; such characterization may provide insights into potential avenues of treatment of symptoms which could impact quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3587292  PMID: 23269098
Sleep disorders; REM sleep behavior disorder; dementia with Lewy bodies; synucleinopathy
10.  Multimodality Imaging Characteristics of Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
Neurobiology of Aging  2011;33(9):2091-2105.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the second most common cause of neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer's disease (AD). Our objective was to determine whether the 11C–Pittsburgh Compound-B (PiB) retention and regional hypometabolism on PET and regional cortical atrophy on MRI are complementary in characterizing patients with DLB and differentiating them from AD. We studied age, gender and education matched patients with a clinical diagnosis of DLB (n=21), AD (n=21), and cognitively normal subjects (n=42). Hippocampal atrophy, global cortical PiB retention and occipital lobe metabolism in combination distinguished DLB from AD better than any of the measurements alone (area under the receiver operating characteristic=0.98).Five of the DLB and AD patients who underwent autopsy were distinguished through multimodality imaging. These data demonstrate that MRI and PiB PET contribute to characterizing the distinct pathological mechanisms in patients with AD compared to DLB. Occipital and posterior parietotemporal lobe hypometabolism is a distinguishing feature of DLB and this regional hypometabolic pattern is independent of the amyloid pathology.
PMCID: PMC3288845  PMID: 22018896
Dementia with Lewy bodies; MRI; PET; FDG; PiB; Alzheimer's disease
11.  Focal atrophy on MRI and neuropathologic classification of dementia with Lewy bodies 
Neurology  2012;79(6):553-560.
To determine the association between the focal atrophy measures on antemortem MRI and postmortem neuropathologic classification of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) using the Third Report of the DLB Consortium criteria.
We retrospectively identified 56 subjects who underwent antemortem MRI and had Lewy body (LB) pathology at autopsy. Subjects were pathologically classified as high (n = 25), intermediate (n = 22), and low likelihood DLB (n = 9) according to the Third Report of the DLB Consortium criteria. We included 2 additional pathologic comparison groups without LBs: one with low likelihood Alzheimer disease (AD) (control; n = 27) and one with high likelihood AD (n = 33). The associations between MRI-based volumetric measurements and the pathologic classification of DLB were tested with analysis of covariance by adjusting for age, sex, and MRI-to-death interval.
Antemortem hippocampal and amygdalar volumes increased from low to intermediate to high likelihood DLB (p < 0.001, trend test). Smaller hippocampal and amygdalar volumes were associated with higher Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage (p < 0.001). Antemortem dorsal mesopontine gray matter (GM) atrophy was found in those with high likelihood DLB compared with normal control subjects (p = 0.004) and those with AD (p = 0.01). Dorsal mesopontine GM volume decreased from low to intermediate to high likelihood DLB (p = 0.01, trend test).
Antemortem hippocampal and amygdalar volumes increase and dorsal mesopontine GM volumes decrease in patients with low to high likelihood DLB according to the Third Report of the DLB Consortium criteria. Patients with high likelihood DLB typically have normal hippocampal volumes but have atrophy in the dorsal mesopontine GM nuclei.
PMCID: PMC3413765  PMID: 22843258
12.  Imaging and acetylcholinesterase inhibitor response in dementia with Lewy bodies 
Brain  2012;135(8):2470-2477.
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are commonly used to treat patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. Hippocampal atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging and amyloid-β load on positron emission tomography are associated with the Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. To date, few studies have investigated imaging markers that predict treatment response in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. Our objective was to determine whether imaging markers of Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology such as hippocampal volume, brain amyloid-β load on 11C Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography predict treatment response to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. We performed a retrospective analysis on consecutive treatment-naive patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (n = 54) from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre who subsequently received acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and underwent magnetic resonance imaging with hippocampal volumetry. Baseline and follow-up assessments were obtained with the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. Subjects were divided into three groups (reliable improvement, stable or reliable decline) using Dementia Rating Scale reliable change indices determined previously. Associations between hippocampal volumes and treatment response were tested with analysis of covariance adjusting for baseline Dementia Rating Scale, age, gender, magnetic resonance field strength and Dementia Rating Scale interval. Seven subjects underwent 11C Pittsburgh compound B imaging within 12 weeks of magnetic resonance imaging. Global cortical 11C Pittsburgh compound B retention (scaled to cerebellar retention) was calculated in these patients. Using a conservative psychometric method of assessing treatment response, there were 12 patients with reliable decline, 29 stable cases and 13 patients with reliable improvement. The improvers had significantly larger hippocampi than those that declined (P = 0.02) and the stable (P = 0.04) group. An exploratory analysis demonstrated larger grey matter volumes in the temporal and parietal lobes in improvers compared with those who declined (P < 0.05). The two patients who had a positive 11C Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography scan declined and those who had a negative 11C Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography scan improved or were stable after treatment. Patients with dementia with Lewy bodies who do not have the imaging features of coexistent Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology are more likely to cognitively improve with acetylcholinesterase inhibitor treatment.
PMCID: PMC3407425  PMID: 22810436
dementia with Lewy bodies; acetylcholinesterase inhibitors; MRI; PiB; PET; amyloid
13.  Antemortem amyloid imaging and β-amyloid pathology in a case with dementia with Lewy Bodies 
Neurobiology of Aging  2010;33(5):878-885.
The association between antemortem [11C]-Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) retention and β-amyloid (Aβ) load, Lewy body (LB) and neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) densities were investigated in a pathologically confirmed case of dementia with LB (DLB). 76-year-old man presenting with a clinical diagnosis of DLB had undergone PiB–positron emission tomography (PET), 18F FDG-PET and MRI 18 months before death. The pathologic diagnosis was DLB neocortical-type with low-likelihood of Alzheimer's disease by NIA-Reagan criteria. Sections from regions of interest (ROI) on post-mortem examination were studied. A significant correlation was found between cortical Aβ density and PiB retention in the 17 corresponding ROIs (r=0.899; p<0.0001). Bielschowsky silver stain revealed mostly sparse neocortical neuritic plaques; whereas diffuse plaques were frequent. There was no correlation between LB density and PiB retention (r=0.13; p=0.66); nor between NFT density and PiB retention (r=−0.36; p=0.17). The ROI-based analysis of imaging and histopathological data confirms that PiB uptake on PET is a specific marker for Aβ density, but cannot differentiate neuritic from diffuse amyloid plaques in this case with DLB.
PMCID: PMC3026854  PMID: 20961664
Dementia with Lewy bodies; amyloid imaging; PET; pathology; amyloid
14.  Reliable Change on the Boston Naming Test 
Serial assessments are commonplace in neuropsychological practice and used to document cognitive trajectory for many clinical conditions. However, true change scores may be distorted by measurement error, repeated exposure to the assessment instrument, or person variables. The present study provides reliable change indices (RCI) for the Boston Naming Test, derived from a sample of 844 cognitively normal adults aged 56 years and older. All participants were retested between 9 and 24 months after their baseline exam. Results showed that a 4-point decline during a 9–15 month retest period or a 6-point decline during a 16–24 month retest period represents reliable change. These cutoff values were further characterized as a function of a person’s age and family history of dementia. These findings may help clinicians and researchers to characterize with greater precision the temporal changes in confrontation naming ability.
PMCID: PMC3617478  PMID: 22264406
BNT; RCI; Aging; Dementia; Serial; Assessment
15.  Diagnostic Validity of Age- And Education-Corrections for the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in African American Elders 
To investigate whether demographic (age and education) adjustments for the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) attenuate mean score discrepancies between African American and Caucasian adults, and to determine whether demographically-adjusted MMSE scores improve the diagnostic classification accuracy of dementia in African American adults when compared to unadjusted MMSE scores.
Cross-sectional study.
Community-dwelling adults participating in the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Registry (ADPR) and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC).
Three thousand two hundred fifty-four adults (2819 Caucasian, 435 African American) aged 60 and older.
MMSE at study entry.
African American adults obtained significantly lower unadjusted MMSE scores (23.0 ± 7.4) compared to Caucasian adults (25.3 ± 5.4). This discrepancy persisted despite adjustment of MMSE scores for age and years of education using established regression weights or newly-derived weights. However, controlling for dementia severity at baseline and adjusting MMSE scores for age and quality of education attenuated this discrepancy. Among African American adults, an age- and education-adjusted MMSE cut score of 23/24 provided optimal dementia classification accuracy, but this represented only a modest improvement over an unadjusted MMSE cut score of 22/23. The posterior probability of dementia in African American adults is presented for various unadjusted MMSE cut scores and prevalence rates of dementia.
Age, dementia severity at study entry, and quality of educational experience are important explanatory factors to understand the existing discrepancies in MMSE performance between Caucasian and African American adults. Our findings support the use of unadjusted MMSE scores when screening African American elders for dementia, with an unadjusted MMSE cut score of 22/23 yielding optimal classification accuracy.
PMCID: PMC3288600  PMID: 22150301
MMSE; African American; ethnicity; dementia; cognition
16.  Probable REM Sleep Behavior Disorder Increases Risk for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Parkinson’s Disease: A Population-Based Study 
Annals of Neurology  2012;71(1):49-56.
REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is associated with neurodegenerative disease and particularly with the synucleinopathies. Convenience samples involving subjects with idiopathic RBD have suggested an increased risk of incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia (usually dementia with Lewy bodies) or Parkinson’s disease (PD). There is no data on such risk in a population-based sample.
Cognitively normal subjects aged 70–89 in a population-based study of aging who screened positive for probable RBD using the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire were followed at 15 month intervals. In a Cox Proportional Hazards Model, we measured the risk of developing MCI, dementia, PD among the exposed (pRBD+) and unexposed (pRBD−) cohorts.
Forty-four subjects with pRBD+ at enrollment (median duration of pRBD features was 7.5 years), and 607 pRBD− subjects, were followed prospectively for a median of 3.8 years. Fourteen of the pRBD+ subjects developed MCI and one developed PD (15/44=34% developed MCI / PD); none developed dementia. After adjustment for age, sex, education, and medical comorbidity, pRBD+ subjects were at increased risk of MCI / PD [Hazard Ratio (HR) 2.2, 95% Confidence Interval (95%CI) 1.3 – 3.9; p=0.005]. Inclusion of subjects who withdrew from the study produced similar results, as did exclusion of subjects with medication-associated RBD. Duration of pRBD symptoms did not predict the development of MCI / PD (HR 1.05 per 10 years, 95%CI 0.84 – 1.3; p=0.68).
In this population-based cohort study, we observed that pRBD confers a 2.2-fold increased risk of developing MCI / PD over four years.
PMCID: PMC3270692  PMID: 22275251
sleep disorders; parasomnias; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; dementia with Lewy bodies; parkinsonism; synuclein
17.  Predicting Functional Ability in Mild Cognitive Impairment with the Dementia Rating Scale-2 
We examined the utility of cognitive evaluation to predict instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and decisional ability in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
Sixty-seven individuals with single domain amnestic MCI were administered the Dementia Rating Scale-2 as well as the Everyday Cognition (ECog) form to assess functional ability.
DRS-2 Total Scores and Initiation/Perseveration and Memory subscales were found to be predictive of IADLs, with Total Scores accounting for 19% of the variance in IADL performance on average. Additionally, DRS-2 Initiation/Perseveration and Total Score were predictive of ability to understand information, and DRS-2 Conceptualization helped predict ability to communicate with others, both key variables in decision making ability.
These findings suggest that performance on the DRS-2, and specific subscales related to executive function and memory, is significantly related to IADLs in individuals with MCI. These cognitive measures are also associated in decision making related abilities in MCI.
PMCID: PMC3348287  PMID: 22265236
Mild Cognitive Impairment; Cognitive Ability; Activities of Daily Living; Decision Making Ability
18.  Computerized Analysis of Speech and Language to Identify Psycholinguistic Correlates of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
To evaluate the use of a semiautomated computerized system for measuring speech and language characteristics in patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
FTLD is a heterogeneous disorder comprising at least 3 variants. Computerized assessment of spontaneous verbal descriptions by patients with FTLD offers a detailed and reproducible view of the underlying cognitive deficits.
Audiorecorded speech samples of 38 patients from 3 participating medical centers were elicited using the Cookie Theft stimulus. Each patient underwent a battery of neuropsychologic tests. The audio was analyzed by the computerized system to measure 15 speech and language variables. Analysis of variance was used to identify characteristics with significant differences in means between FTLD variants. Factor analysis was used to examine the implicit relations between subsets of the variables.
Semiautomated measurements of pause-to-word ratio and pronoun-to-noun ratio were able to discriminate between some of the FTLD variants. Principal component analysis of all 14 variables suggested 4 subjectively defined components (length, hesitancy, empty content, grammaticality) corresponding to the phenomenology of FTLD variants.
Semiautomated language and speech analysis is a promising novel approach to neuropsychologic assessment that offers a valuable contribution to the toolbox of researchers in dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders.
PMCID: PMC3365864  PMID: 20829666
spontaneous speech; language; prosody; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; automated speech analysis
19.  Validation of the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire to Screen for REM Sleep Behavior Disorder in an Aging and Dementia Cohort 
Sleep medicine  2011;12(5):445-453.
To validate a questionnaire focused on REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) among participants in an aging and dementia cohort.
RBD is a parasomnia that can develop in otherwise neurologically-normal adults as well as in those with a neurodegenerative disease. Confirmation of RBD requires polysomnography (PSG). A simple screening measure for RBD would be desirable for clinical and research purposes.
We had previously developed the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire (MSQ), a 16 item measure, to screen for the presence of RBD and other sleep disorders. We assessed the validity of the MSQ by comparing the responses of patients’ bed partners with the findings on PSG. All subjects recruited in the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic Rochester and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville from 1/00 to 7/08 who had also undergone a PSG were the focus of this analysis.
The study sample was comprised of 176 subjects [150 male; median age 71 years (range 39–90)], with the following clinical diagnoses: normal (n=8), mild cognitive impairment (n=44), Alzheimer’s disease (n=23), dementia with Lewy bodies (n=74), as well as other dementia and/or parkinsonian syndromes (n=27). The core question on recurrent dream enactment behavior yielded a sensitivity (SN) of 98% and specificity (SP) of 74% for the diagnosis of RBD. The profile of responses on four additional subquestions on RBD and one on obstructive sleep apnea improved specificity.
These data suggest that among aged subjects with cognitive impairment and/or parkinsonism, the MSQ has adequate SN and SP for the diagnosis of RBD. The utility of this scale in other patient populations will require further study.
PMCID: PMC3083495  PMID: 21349763
sleep disorders; parasomnias; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; dementia with Lewy bodies; parkinsonism
20.  Neuropsychiatric Aspects of Primary Progressive Aphasia 
Few studies have reported neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), a neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects the left hemisphere. Depression is associated with left-sided stroke, but it remains unclear if depression and other NPS are also associated with PPA. The authors compared the frequency of NPS in 55 cases of PPA with 110 cognitively normal persons matched for age, sex and education. Depression, apathy, agitation, anxiety, appetite change, and irritability are associated with PPA. Hallucinations, delusion and night time behavior were not associated with PPA.
PMCID: PMC3204925  PMID: 21677245
21.  Predicting functional decline in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia 
Brain  2011;134(2):432-448.
Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia is characterized by a change in comportment. It is associated with considerable functional decline over the course of the illness albeit with sometimes dramatic variability among patients. It is unknown whether any baseline features, or combination of features, could predict rate of functional decline in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different baseline clinical, neuropsychological, neuropsychiatric, genetic and anatomic predictors on the rate of functional decline as measured by the Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes scale. We identified 86 subjects with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia that had multiple serial Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes assessments (mean 4, range 2–18). Atlas-based parcellation was used to generate volumes for specific regions of interest at baseline. Volumes were utilized to classify subjects into different anatomical subtypes using the advanced statistical technique of cluster analysis and were assessed as predictor variables. Composite scores were generated for the neuropsychological domains of executive, language, memory and visuospatial function. Behaviours from the brief questionnaire form of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory were assessed. Linear mixed-effects regression modelling was used to determine which baseline features predict rate of future functional decline. Rates of functional decline differed across the anatomical subtypes of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, with faster rates observed in the frontal dominant and frontotemporal subtypes. In addition, subjects with poorer performance on neuropsychological tests of executive, language and visuospatial function, less disinhibition, agitation/aggression and night-time behaviours at presentation, and smaller medial, lateral and orbital frontal lobe volumes showed faster rates of decline. In many instances, the effect of the predictor variables observed across all subjects was also preserved within anatomical subtypes. Furthermore, some of the predictor variables improved our prediction of rate of functional decline after anatomical subtype was taken into account. In particular, age at onset was a highly significant predictor but only after adjusting for subtype. We also found that although some predictor variables, for example gender, Mini-Mental State Examination score, and apathy/indifference, did not affect the rate of functional decline; these variables were associated with the actual Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes score estimated for any given time-point. These findings suggest that in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, rate of functional decline is driven by the combination of anatomical pattern of atrophy, age at onset, and neuropsychiatric characteristics of the subject at baseline.
PMCID: PMC3030765  PMID: 21252111
frontotemporal dementia; behaviour; functional decline; brain volumes; mixed effects models
22.  Mutations in DNMT1 cause hereditary sensory neuropathy with dementia and hearing loss 
Nature genetics  2011;43(6):595-600.
DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) is crucial for maintenance of methylation, gene regulation and chromatin stability1-3. DNA mismatch repair, cell cycle regulation in post-mitotic neurons4,5 and neurogenesis6 are influenced by DNA methylation. Here we show mutations in DNMT1 cause both central and peripheral neurodegeneration in one form of hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN1) with dementia and hearing loss7,8. Exome sequencing led to the identification of DNMT1 mutation c.A1484G (p.Tyr495Cys) in two American and one Japanese kindreds and a triple nucleotide change c.1470TCC-1472ATA (p.Asp490Glu-Pro491Tyr) in one European kindred. All mutations are within the targeting sequence (TS) domain of DNMT1. These mutations cause premature degradation of mutant proteins, reduced methyltransferase activity and impaired heterochromatin binding during the G2 cell cycle phase, leading to global hypomethylation and site specific hypermethylation. Our study demonstrates DNMT1 mutations cause aberrant methylation implicated in complex pathogenesis. The discovered DNMT1 mutations provide a new framework for the study of neurodegenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC3102765  PMID: 21532572
23.  Prominent Phenotypic Variability Associated with Mutations in Progranulin 
Neurobiology of aging  2007;30(5):739-751.
Mutations in progranulin (PGRN) are associated with frontotemporal dementia with or without parkinsonism. We describe the prominent phenotypic variability within and among eight kindreds evaluated at Mayo Clinic Rochester and/or Mayo Clinic Jacksonville in whom mutations in PGRN were found. All available clinical, genetic, neuroimaging and neuropathologic data was reviewed. Age of onset ranged from 49 to 88 years and disease duration ranged from 1 to 14 years. Clinical diagnoses included frontotemporal dementia (FTD), primary progressive aphasia, FTD with parkinsonism, parkinsonism, corticobasal syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, amnestic mild cognitive impairment, and others. One kindred exhibited maximal right cerebral hemispheric atrophy in all four affected individuals, while another had maximal left hemisphere involvement in all three of the affected. Neuropathologic examination of 13 subjects revealed frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions plus neuronal intranuclear inclusions in all cases. Age of onset, clinical phenotypes and MRI findings associated with most PGRN mutations varied significantly both within and among kindreds. Some kindreds with PGRN mutations exhibited lateralized topography of degeneration across all affected individuals.
PMCID: PMC3164546  PMID: 17949857
Frontotemporal dementia; FTDP-17; Progranulin; PGRN; MRI
24.  Robust and Expanded Norms for the Dementia Rating Scale 
The Dementia Rating Scale (DRS) is a widely used measure of global cognition, with age- and education-corrected norms derived from a cross-sectional sample of adults participating in Mayo's Older Americans Normative Studies (MOANS). In recent years, however, studies have indicated that cross-sectional normative samples of older adults represent an admixture of individuals who are indeed cognitively normal (i.e., disease-free) and individuals with incipient neurodegenerative disease. Theoretically, the “contamination” of cross-sectional normative samples with cases of preclinical dementia can lead to underestimation of the test mean and overestimation of the variance, thus reducing the clinical utility of the norms. Robust norming, in which dementia cases are removed from the normative cohort through longitudinal follow-up, is an alternative approach to norm development. The current study presents a reappraisal of the original MOANS DRS norms, provides robust and expanded norms based on a sample of 894 adults age 55 and over, and critically evaluates the benefits of robust norming.
PMCID: PMC2904669  PMID: 20427376
Dementia Rating Scale; DRS; Alzheimer's disease; Robust; Norms
25.  Mild Cognitive Impairment: Ten Years Later 
Archives of neurology  2009;66(12):1447-1455.
In the past 10 years, there has been a virtual explosion in the literature concerning the construct of mild cognitive impairment. The interest in this topic demonstrates the increasing emphasis on the identification of the earliest features of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Mild cognitive impairment represents the earliest clinical features of these conditions and, hence, has become a focus of clinical, epidemiological, neuroimaging, biomarker, neuropathological, disease mechanism and clinical trials research. This review summarizes the progress that has been made while also recognizing the challenges that remain.
PMCID: PMC3081688  PMID: 20008648
Mild cognitive impairment; Alzheimer’s disease; Imaging; Cognitive decline

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