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1.  Hypothyroidism and Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Elderly Persons - A Population Based Study 
JAMA neurology  2014;71(2):201-207.
Association of clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is not established.
To evaluate the association of clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism with MCI in a large population based cohort.
A cross-sectional, population-based study.
Olmsted County, Minnesota.
Randomly selected participants were aged 70 to 89 years on October 1, 2004, and were without documented prevalent dementia. A total of 2,050 participants were evaluated and underwent in-person interview, neurological evaluation and neuropsychological testing to assess performance in memory, attention/executive function, visuospatial, and language domains. Subjects were diagnosed by consensus as cognitively normal, MCI or dementia according to published criteria. Clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism was ascertained from a medical records-linkage system.
Association of clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism with MCI.
Among 1904 eligible participants, the frequency of MCI was 16% in 1450 subjects with normal thyroid function, 17% in 313 subjects with clinical hypothyroidism, and 18% in 141 subjects with subclinical hypothyroidism. After adjusting for covariates (age, gender, education, education years, sex, ApoE ε 4, depression, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, BMI and coronary artery disease) we found no significant association between clinical or subclinial hypothyroidism and MCI [OR 0.99 (95% CI 0.66–1.48) and OR 0.88 (95% CI 0.38–2.03) respectively]. No effect of gender interaction was seen on these effects. In stratified analysis, the odds of MCI with clinical and subclinical hypothyroidisn among males was 1.02 (95%CI, 0.57–1.82) and 1.29 (95%CI 0.68–2.44), among females was 1.04 (95% 0.66–1.66) and 0.86 (95% CI 0.37–2.02) respectively.
In this population based cohort of eldery, neither clinical nor subclinical hypothyrpodism was associated with MCI. Our findings need to be validated in a separate settings using the published criteria for MCI and also confirmed in a longitudinal study.
PMCID: PMC4136444  PMID: 24378475
2.  Higher risk of progression to dementia in mild cognitive impairment cases who revert to normal 
Neurology  2014;82(4):317-325.
To estimate rates of progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia and of reversion from MCI to being cognitively normal (CN) in a population-based cohort.
Participants (n = 534, aged 70 years and older) enrolled in the prospective Mayo Clinic Study of Aging were evaluated at baseline and every 15 months to identify incident MCI or dementia.
Over a median follow-up of 5.1 years, 153 of 534 participants (28.7%) with prevalent or incident MCI progressed to dementia (71.3 per 1,000 person-years). The cumulative incidence of dementia was 5.4% at 1 year, 16.1% at 2, 23.4% at 3, 31.1% at 4, and 42.5% at 5 years. The risk of dementia was elevated in MCI cases (hazard ratio [HR] 23.2, p < 0.001) compared with CN subjects. Thirty-eight percent (n = 201) of MCI participants reverted to CN (175.0/1,000 person-years), but 65% subsequently developed MCI or dementia; the HR was 6.6 (p < 0.001) compared with CN subjects. The risk of reversion was reduced in subjects with an APOE ε4 allele (HR 0.53, p < 0.001), higher Clinical Dementia Rating Scale–Sum of Boxes (HR 0.56, p < 0.001), and poorer cognitive function (HR 0.56, p < 0.001). The risk was also reduced in subjects with amnestic MCI (HR 0.70, p = 0.02) and multidomain MCI (HR 0.61, p = 0.003).
MCI cases, including those who revert to CN, have a high risk of progressing to dementia. This suggests that diagnosis of MCI at any time has prognostic value.
PMCID: PMC3929198  PMID: 24353333
3.  Head trauma and in vivo measures of amyloid and neurodegeneration in a population-based study 
Neurology  2014;82(1):70-76.
We determined whether head trauma was associated with amyloid deposition and neurodegeneration among individuals who were cognitively normal (CN) or had mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Participants included 448 CN individuals and 141 individuals with MCI from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging who underwent Pittsburgh compound B (PiB)-PET, fluorodeoxyglucose-PET, and MRI. Head trauma was defined as a self-reported brain injury with at least momentary loss of consciousness or memory. Regression models examined whether head trauma was associated with each neuroimaging variable (assessed as continuous and dichotomous measures) in both CN and MCI participants, controlling for age and sex.
Among 448 CN individuals, 74 (17%) self-reported a head trauma. There was no difference in any neuroimaging measure between CN subjects with and without head trauma. Of 141 participants with MCI, 25 (18%) self-reported a head trauma. MCI participants with a head trauma had higher amyloid levels (by an average 0.36 standardized uptake value ratio units, p = 0.002).
Among individuals with MCI, but not CN individuals, self-reported head trauma with at least momentary loss of consciousness or memory was associated with greater amyloid deposition, suggesting that head trauma may be associated with Alzheimer disease–related neuropathology. Differences between CN individuals and individuals with MCI raise questions about the relevance of head injury–PET abnormality findings in those with MCI.
PMCID: PMC3873622  PMID: 24371306
4.  The neuropsychology of normal aging and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease 
An NIA-sponsored workgroup on preclinical Alzheimer’s disease (AD) articulated the need to characterize cognitive differences between normal aging and preclinical AD.
71 apolipoprotein E (APOE) e4 homozygotes (HMZ), 194 e3/4 heterozygotes (HTZ), and 356 e4 noncarriers (NC) aged 21–87 years who were cognitively healthy underwent neuropsychological testing every two years. Longitudinal trajectories of test scores were compared between APOE subgroups.
There was a significant effect of age on all cognitive domains in both APOE e4 carriers and NC. A significant effect of APOE e4 gene dose was confined to the memory domain and the Dementia Rating Scale. Cross sectional comparisons did not discriminate the groups.
While cognitive aging patterns are similar in APOE e4 carriers and NC, preclinical AD is characterized by a significant e4 gene dose effect that impacts memory and is detectable longitudinally. Preclinical neuropsychological testing strategies should emphasize memory sensitive measures and longitudinal design.
PMCID: PMC3700591  PMID: 23541188
preclinical Alzheimer’s disease; cognitive aging; age-related memory loss; mild cognitive impairment; apolipoprotein E; longitudinal testing
5.  Association of diabetes with amnestic and nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment 
Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) through Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related and vascular pathology and may also increase the risk of nonamnestic MCI (naMCI) through vascular disease mechanisms. We examined the association of type 2 diabetes with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and MCI subtype (aMCI and naMCI) overall and by sex.
Participants were Olmsted County, Minnesota residents (70 years and older) enrolled in a prospective, population-based study. At baseline and every 15 months thereafter, participants were evaluated using the Clinical Dementia Rating scale, a neurological evaluation, and neuropsychological testing for a diagnosis of normal cognition, MCI, and dementia by a consensus panel. Type 2 diabetes was ascertained from the medical records of participants at baseline.
Over a median 4.0 years of follow-up, 348 of 1450 subjects developed MCI. Type 2 diabetes was associated (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval]) with MCI (1.39 [1.08–1.79]), aMCI (1.58 [1.17–2.15]; multiple domain: 1.58 [1.01–2.47]; single domain: 1.49 [1.09–2.05]), and the hazard ratio for naMCI was elevated (1.37 [0.84–2.24]). Diabetes was strongly associated with multiple-domain aMCI in men (2.42 [1.31–4.48]) and an elevated risk of multiple domain naMCI in men (2.11 [0.70–6.33]), and with single domain naMCI in women (2.32 [1.04–5.20]).
Diabetes was associated with an increased risk of MCI in elderly persons. The association of diabetes with MCI may vary with subtype, number of domains, and sex. Prevention and control of diabetes may reduce the risk of MCI and Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC3830601  PMID: 23562428
Mild cognitive impairment; Risk factors; Type 2 diabetes; Incidence; Cohort studies; Population-based studies; Sex differences; Diabetic retinopathy; Diabetic neuropathy
6.  Association of Lifetime Intellectual Enrichment with Cognitive Decline in the Older Population 
JAMA neurology  2014;71(8):1017-1024.
Intellectual lifestyle enrichment throughout life is increasingly viewed as a protective strategy against commonly observed cognitive decline in the elderly.
To investigate the association of lifetime intellectual enrichment with baseline cognitive performance and rate of cognitive decline in a non-demented elderly population and to estimate difference (in years) associated with lifetime intellectual enrichment to the onset of cognitive impairment.
Prospective analysis of subjects enrolled in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA), a longitudinal population-based study of cognitive aging in Olmsted County, Minnesota. We studied 1995 non-demented (1718 cognitively normal, 277 MCI) participants in MCSA who completed intellectual lifestyle measures at baseline and underwent at least one follow-up visit.
We studied the effect of lifetime intellectual enrichment by separating the variables into two non-overlapping principal components: education/occupation-score and mid/late-life cognitive activity measure based on self-report questionnaires. A global cognitive Z-score served as our summary cognition measure. We used linear mixed-effects models to investigate the associations of demographic and intellectual enrichment measures with global cognitive Z-score trajectories.
Baseline cognitive performance was lower in older subjects and in those with lower education/occupation, lower mid/late-life cognitive activity, apolipoprotein E4 (APOE) genotype, and in men. The interaction between the two intellectual enrichment measures was significant such that the beneficial effect of mid/late-life cognitive activity on baseline cognitive performance was reduced with increasing education/occupation. Only baseline age, mid/late-life cognitive activity, and APOE4 genotype were significantly associated with longitudinal change in cognitive performance from baseline. For APOE4 carriers with high lifetime intellectual enrichment (75th percentile of both education/occupation and mid/late-life cognitive activity), the onset of cognitive impairment was about 8.7 years later compared with low lifetime intellectual enrichment (25th percentile of both education/occupation and mid/late-life cognitive activity) in an 80 year old subject.
Higher levels of education/occupation were associated with higher levels of cognition. Higher levels of mid/late-life leisure activity were also associated with higher levels of cognition, but the slope of this relationship slightly increased over time. Lifetime intellectual enrichment might delay the onset of cognitive impairment and be used as a successful preventive intervention to reduce the impending dementia epidemic.
PMCID: PMC4266551  PMID: 25054282
7.  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
8.  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
9.  MRI and pathology of REM sleep behavior disorder in dementia with Lewy bodies 
Neurology  2013;81(19):1681-1689.
To determine structural MRI and digital microscopic characteristics of REM sleep behavior disorder in individuals with low-, intermediate-, and high-likelihood dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) at autopsy.
Patients with autopsy-confirmed low-, intermediate-, and high-likelihood DLB, according to the probability statement recommended by the third report of the DLB Consortium, and antemortem MRI, were identified (n = 75). The clinical history was assessed for presence (n = 35) and absence (n = 40) of probable REM sleep behavior disorder (pRBD), and patients' antemortem MRIs were compared using voxel-based morphometry. Pathologic burdens of phospho-tau, β-amyloid, and α-synuclein were measured in regions associated with early neuropathologic involvement, the hippocampus and amygdala.
pRBD was present in 21 patients (60%) with high-likelihood, 12 patients (34%) with intermediate-likelihood, and 2 patients (6%) with low-likelihood DLB. Patients with pRBD were younger, more likely to be male (p ≤ 0.001), and had a more frequent neuropathologic diagnosis of diffuse (neocortical) Lewy body disease. In the hippocampus and amygdala, phospho-tau and β-amyloid burden were lower in patients with pRBD compared with those without pRBD (p < 0.01). α-Synuclein burden did not differ in the hippocampus, but trended in the amygdala. Patients without pRBD had greater atrophy of temporoparietal cortices, hippocampus, and amygdala (p < 0.001) than those with pRBD; atrophy of the hippocampus (p = 0.005) and amygdala (p = 0.02) were associated with greater phospho-tau burdens in these regions.
Presence of pRBD is associated with a higher likelihood of DLB and less severe Alzheimer-related pathology in the medial temporal lobes, whereas absence of pRBD is characterized by Alzheimer-like atrophy patterns on MRI and increased phospho-tau burden.
PMCID: PMC3812105  PMID: 24107861
10.  Diabetes and Elevated HbA1c levels are Associated with Brain Hypometabolism but not Amyloid Accumulation 
Dysfunctional insulin signaling may affect brain metabolism or amyloid deposition. We investigated the associations of type 2 diabetes with amyloid accumulation measured using 11C-Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) and brain hypometabolism measured using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET).
We studied a sample of non-demented participants from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. All subjects underwent MRI, amyloid PET and FDG PET. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) signature and region of interest (ROI) measures for PiB retention ratio and FDG ratio were measured. Diabetes was assessed from the Rochester Epidemiology Project medical records-linkage system.
Among 749 participants (median age 79.0 years; 56.5% male, 81.0% cognitively normal; 20.6% diabetics), FDG hypometabolism (FDG ratio < 1.31) in the AD signature meta-ROI was more common in diabetics (48.1%) than in non-diabetics (28.9%; p <0.001). The median FDG ratio was lower in diabetics vs. non-diabetics in the AD signature meta-ROI (1.32 vs. 1.40, p < 0.001), and in the angular (1.40 vs. 1.48, p < 0.001) and posterior cingulate gyri ROIs (1.63 vs. 1.72, p < 0.001). The odds ratio (OR [95% confidence interval]) for abnormal AD signature FDG hypometabolism was elevated (OR, 2.28 [1.56, 3.33]) in diabetics vs. non-diabetics after adjustment for age, sex, and education, and after additional adjustment for Apolipoprotein ε4 allele, glycemic level, and cognitive status (OR, 1.69 [1.10, 2.60]). However, AD signature PiB retention ratio was similar in diabetics vs. non-diabetics (OR, 1.03 [0.71, 1.51]; p = 0.87). In post-hoc analyses in non-diabetics, a 1% increase in HBA1c was associated with greater AD signature hypometabolism in cognitively normal subjects (OR, 1.93 [1.03, 3.62; p = 0.04]) and in the total cohort (OR 1.59 [0.92, 2.75; p = 0.10).
Diabetes and poor glycemic control in non-diabetics may enhance glucose hypometabolism in AD signature regions. These factors should be investigated in longitudinal studies for their role in detecting onset of symptoms in AD.
PMCID: PMC4011952  PMID: 24652830
Diabetes; cerebral glucose metabolism; FDG- and PiB-PET imaging; hemoglobin A1c; amyloid accumulation
11.  Classification and Epidemiology of MCI 
Clinics in geriatric medicine  2013;29(4):10.1016/j.cger.2013.07.003.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate stage in the trajectory from normal cognition to dementia. Despite controversies about the classification of MCI, recent published criteria for MCI allow better comparison of the prevalence, incidence, and outcomes of MCI. Subjects with MCI have a high rate of progression to dementia over a relatively short period. Even among subjects who revert to normal cognition at one point in time, the rate of subsequent MCI or dementia is higher than among those who never develop MCI. Subjects with MCI also experience a greater mortality than cognitively normal subjects. Better characterization of MCI and understanding of the condition, may contribute to development of better diagnostic mechanisms including imaging and fluid biomarkers, and the development of therapeutic, and non-therapeutic interventions for MCI. In this review, we present an overview of the classification of MCI, estimates of the incidence and prevalence of MCI, risk factors for MCI, and the outcomes following an MCI diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3821397  PMID: 24094295
Classification; Epidemiology; Incidence; Mild cognitive impairment; Prevalence; Risk factors
12.  Practice effects and longitudinal cognitive change in normal aging vs. incident mild cognitive impairment and dementia in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging 
The Clinical neuropsychologist  2013;27(8):10.1080/13854046.2013.836567.
The objective of this study was to examine practice effects and longitudinal cognitive change in a population based cohort classified as clinically normal at their initial evaluation. We examined 1390 individuals with a median age of 78.1 years and re-evaluated them up to four times at approximate 15 month intervals, with an average follow-up time of five years. Of the 1390 participants, 947 (69%) individuals remained cognitively normal, 397 (29%) progressed to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 46 (3%) to dementia. The stable normal group showed an initial practice effect in all domains which was sustained in memory and visuospatial reasoning. There was only a slight decline in attention and language after visit 3. We combined individuals with incident MCI and dementia to form one group representing those who declined. The incident MCI/dementia group showed an unexpected practice effect in memory from baseline to visit 2, with a significant decline thereafter. This group did not demonstrate practice effects in any other domain and showed a downward trajectory in all domains at each evaluation. Modeling cognitive change in an epidemiologic sample may serve as a useful benchmark for evaluating cognitive change in future intervention studies.
PMCID: PMC3869900  PMID: 24041121
Cognition; memory; practice effects; mild cognitive impairment; Alzheimer’s disease
13.  Subtle gait changes in patients with REM Behavior Disorder 
Many people with REM sleep behavior disorder have an underlying synucleinopathy, the most common of which is Lewy body disease. Identifying additional abnormal clinical features may help in identifying those at greater risk of evolving to a more severe syndrome. As gait disorders are common in the synucleinopathies, early abnormalities in gait in those with REM sleep behavior disorder could help in identifying those at increased risk of developing overt parkinsonism and/or cognitive impairment.
We identified 42 probable REM sleep behavior disorder subjects and 492 controls using the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire and assessed gait velocity, cadence and stride dynamics with an automated gait analysis system.
Cases and controls were similar in age (79.9 ± 4.7 & 80.1 ± 4.7, p= 0.74), UPDRS score (3.3 ± 5.5 & 1.9 ± 4.1, p=0.21) and Mini-Mental State Examination scores (27.2 ± 1.9 & 27.7 ± 1.6, p=0.10). A diagnosis of probable REM sleep behavior disorder was associated with decreased velocity (−7.9 cm/sec, 95%CI −13.8 to −2.0, p<0.01), cadence (−4.4 steps/min, 95%CI −7.6 to −1.3, p<0.01), and significantly increased double limb support variability (30%, 95%CI 6 – 60, p=0.01), greater stride time variability (29%, 95%CI 2 – 63, p=0.03) and swing time variability (46%, 95%CI 15 – 84, p<0.01).
Probable REM sleep behavior disorder is associated with subtle gait changes prior to overt clinical parkinsonism. Diagnosis of probable REM sleep behavior disorder supplemented by gait analysis may help as a screening tool for disorders of α-synuclein.
PMCID: PMC3952497  PMID: 24130124
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder; gait; gait variability
14.  Migraine and white matter hyperintensities 
Neurology  2013;81(15):1308-1313.
Migraine is associated with white matter hyperintensities (WMH) cross-sectionally, but its effect on WMH progression is uncertain.
Participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities cohort study (n = 10,924) completed a standardized headache questionnaire between 1993 and 1995. A subset of participants (n = 1,028) received 2 MRIs 8 to 12 years apart: once at the time of headache ascertainment, and again from 2004 to 2006. WMH were quantified using both a visually graded score (0–9) and semiautomated volumetric analysis. Linear and logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, and other vascular risk factors were constructed.
Individuals who had migraine without aura were cross-sectionally associated with an 87% greater odds of having a WMH score ≥3 than individuals without headache (adjusted odds ratio = 1.87; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04, 3.37). Participants with migraine had an average of 2.65 cm3 more WMH than those without headache (95% CI: 0.06, 5.24). However, there was no significant difference in WMH progression over the study period between individuals with and without migraine (1.58 cm3 more progression for individuals with migraine compared to those without; 95% CI: −0.37, 3.53).
Migraine is associated with WMH volume cross-sectionally but not with WMH progression over time. This suggests that the association between migraine and WMH is stable in older age and may be primarily attributable to changes occurring earlier in life, although further work is needed to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC3806921  PMID: 23975874
15.  Differences in rate of functional decline across three dementia types 
To estimate differences in rates of functional decline in Alzheimer's disease (AD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and vascular dementia (VaD) and whether differences vary by age or sex.
Data came from 32 U.S. Alzheimer's Disease Centers. The cohort of participants (n = 5,848) were 60+ years and had clinical dementia with a primary etiologic diagnosis of probable AD, DLB or probable VaD, a Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes score < 16, and duration of symptoms ≤10 years. Dementia diagnoses were assigned using standard criteria. Annual mean rate of change of the Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) score was modeled using multiple linear regression with Generalized Estimating Equations, adjusted for demographics, co-morbidities, years since onset and cognitive status (mean follow-up = 2.0 years).
FAQ declined more slowly over time in those with VaD compared to AD (difference in mean annual rate of change: -0.91; 95% CI: -1.68, -0.14). VaD participants also declined at a slower rate than DLB participants but this difference was not statistically significant (-0.61; 95% CI: -1.45, 0.24). There was no significant difference between DLB and AD. Within each group, rate of decline was more rapid for the youngest participants.
In this sample, findings suggested that VaD patients declined in their functional abilities at a slower rate compared to AD patients and that there were no significant differences in rate of functional decline between patients with DLB compared to those with either AD or VaD. These results may provide guidance to clinicians about average expected rates of functional decline in three common dementia types.
PMCID: PMC3766452  PMID: 23643459
Alzheimer's disease; dementia with Lewy bodies; vascular dementia; disease progression; instrumental activities of daily living; functional decline
16.  Associations of repeat sizes with clinical and pathological characteristics in C9ORF72 expansion carriers (Xpansize-72): a cross-sectional cohort study 
Lancet neurology  2013;12(10):10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70210-2.
Hexanucleotide repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) are currently the major genetic cause of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and motor neuron disease (MND). Presently, it is unknown whether expansion size affects disease severity or phenotypes.
We performed a cross-sectional Southern blot characterization study (Xpansize-72) in a cohort of subjects obtained at the Mayo Clinic and Banner Sun Health Research Institute. All subjects carried GGGGCC repeat expansions in C9ORF72, and high quality DNA was available from the frontal cortex, cerebellum and/or blood. Southern blotting techniques and densitometry were employed to estimate the repeat size of the most abundant expansion species. Comparisons of repeat sizes between tissues were made using Wilcoxon rank sum and Wilcoxon signed rank tests, and between disease subgroups using Kruskal-Wallis rank sum tests. The association of repeat size with age at onset and age at collection was evaluated using a Spearman’s test of correlation; whereas the association between repeat size and survival after disease onset was examined using Cox proportional hazards regression models.
Our cohort consisted of 84 C9ORF72 expansion carriers, including FTD patients (n=35), FTD/MND patients (n=16), MND patients (n=30), and unaffected subjects (n=3). We focused our analysis on three major tissue subgroups: frontal cortex (41 subjects [21 FTD, 11 FTD/MND, 9 MND]), cerebellum (40 subjects [20 FTD, 12 FTD/MND, 8 MND]), and blood (50 subjects [15 FTD, 9 FTD/MND, 23 MND, 3 unaffected expansion carriers]). Repeat lengths in the cerebellum were significantly smaller (median 12·3 kb [~1667 repeat units], IQR 11·1–14·3) than in the frontal cortex (median 33·8 kb [~5250 repeat units], IQR 23·5–44·9, p<0·0001), or in blood (median 18·6 kb [~2717 repeat units], IQR 13·9–28·1, p=0·0002). Within these tissues, there was no significant difference in repeat length between disease subgroups (cerebellum p=0·96, frontal cortex p=0·27, blood p=0·10). In the frontal cortex of FTD patients, repeat length correlated with age at onset (r=0·63, p=0·003) and age at collection (r=0·58, p=0·006); this correlation was not detected in the cerebellum or blood. Finally, only in the cerebellum, survival after disease onset was poorer in patients from our overall cohort with repeat lengths greater than 1467 repeat units (25th percentile, HR 3·27, 95% CI 1·34–7·95, p=0·009): the median survival was 4·8 years (IQR 3·0–7·4) in the group with longer expansions versus 7·4 years (IQR 6·3–10·9) in the group with smaller expansions.
Substantial variation in repeat size is observed between cerebellum, frontal cortex, and blood; relatively long repeat sizes in the cerebellum confer an important survival disadvantage. Our findings indicate that expansion size does affect disease severity, which could be relevant for genetic counseling.
PMCID: PMC3879782  PMID: 24011653
17.  Genetic modifiers in carriers of repeat expansions in the C9ORF72 gene 
Hexanucleotide repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) are causative for frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and motor neuron disease (MND). Substantial phenotypic heterogeneity has been described in patients with these expansions. We set out to identify genetic modifiers of disease risk, age at onset, and survival after onset that may contribute to this clinical variability.
We examined a cohort of 330 C9ORF72 expansion carriers and 374 controls. In these individuals, we assessed variants previously implicated in FTD and/or MND; 36 variants were included in our analysis. After adjustment for multiple testing, our analysis revealed three variants significantly associated with age at onset (rs7018487 [UBAP1; p-value = 0.003], rs6052771 [PRNP; p-value = 0.003], and rs7403881 [MT-Ie; p-value = 0.003]), and six variants significantly associated with survival after onset (rs5848 [GRN; p-value = 0.001], rs7403881 [MT-Ie; p-value = 0.001], rs13268953 [ELP3; p-value = 0.003], the epsilon 4 allele [APOE; p-value = 0.004], rs12608932 [UNC13A; p-value = 0.003], and rs1800435 [ALAD; p-value = 0.003]).
Variants identified through this study were previously reported to be involved in FTD and/or MND, but we are the first to describe their effects as potential disease modifiers in the presence of a clear pathogenic mutation (i.e. C9ORF72 repeat expansion). Although validation of our findings is necessary, these variants highlight the importance of protein degradation, antioxidant defense and RNA-processing pathways, and additionally, they are promising targets for the development of therapeutic strategies and prognostic tests.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1750-1326-9-38) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4190282  PMID: 25239657
C9ORF72; Frontotemporal dementia; Motor neuron disease; Genetic modifier; Repeat expansion
18.  Profilin-1 mutations are rare in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia 
Mutations in profilin-1 (PFN1) have recently been identified in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Because of the considerable overlap between ALS and the common subtype of frontotemporal dementia, which is characterized by transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 pathology (FTLD-TDP), we tested cohorts of ALS and FTLD-TDP patients for PFN1 mutations.
DNA was obtained from 342 ALS patients and 141 FTLD-TDP patients at our outpatient clinic and brain bank for neurodegenerative diseases at the Mayo Clinic Florida, Jacksonville, USA. We screened these patients for mutations in coding regions of PFN1 by Sanger sequencing. Subsequently, we used TaqMan genotyping assays to investigate the identified variant in 1167 control subjects.
One variant, p.E117G, was detected in 1 ALS patient, 1 FTLD-TDP patient, and 2 control subjects. The mutation frequency of patients versus control subjects was not significantly different (p-value = 0.36). Moreover, PFN1 and TDP-43 staining of autopsy material did not differ between patients with or without this variant.
The p.E117G variant appears to represent a benign polymorphism. PFN1 mutations, in general, are rare in ALS and FTLD-TDP patients.
PMCID: PMC3923463  PMID: 23634771
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal dementia; profilin-1; TDP-43; genetics
19.  Risk factors for dementia with Lewy bodies 
Neurology  2013;81(9):833-840.
To determine the risk factors associated with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
We identified 147 subjects with DLB and sampled 2 sex- and age-matched cognitively normal control subjects for each case. We also identified an unmatched comparison group of 236 subjects with Alzheimer disease (AD). We evaluated 19 candidate risk factors in the study cohort.
Compared with controls, subjects with DLB were more likely to have a history of anxiety (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval) (7.4; 3.5–16; p < 0.0001), depression (6.0; 3.7–9.5; p < 0.0001), stroke (2.8; 1.3–6.3; p = 0.01), a family history of Parkinson disease (PD) (4.6; 2.5–8.6; p < 0.0001), and carry APOE ε4 alleles (2.2; 1.5–3.3; p < 0.0001), but less likely to have had cancer (0.44; 0.27–0.70; p = 0.0006) or use caffeine (0.29; 0.14–0.57; p < 0.0001) with a similar trend for alcohol (0.65; 0.42–1.0; p = 0.0501). Compared with subjects with AD, subjects with DLB were younger (72.5 vs 74.9 years, p = 0.021) and more likely to be male (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval) (5.3; 3.3–8.5; p < 0.0001), have a history of depression (4.3; 2.4–7.5; p < 0.0001), be more educated (2.5; 1.1–5.6; p = 0.031), have a positive family history of PD (5.0; 2.4–10; p < 0.0001), have no APOE ε4 alleles (0.61; 0.40–0.93; p = 0.02), and to have had an oophorectomy before age 45 years (7.6; 1.5–39; p = 0.015).
DLB risk factors are an amalgam of those for AD and PD. Smoking and education, which have opposing risk effects on AD and PD, are not risk factors for DLB; however, depression and low caffeine intake, both risk factors for AD and PD, increase risk of DLB more strongly than in either.
PMCID: PMC3908463  PMID: 23892702
20.  Brain MRI findings in Wernicke encephalopathy 
Neurology: Clinical Practice  2013;3(4):363-364.
A 71-year-old woman with myelofibrosis on chemotherapy experienced an acute illness with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Two weeks later, she developed an acute confusional state characterized by disorientation and fluctuating alertness with normal speech and language. Her neurologic examination demonstrated an upper motor neuron pattern of right hemiparesis. She reported double vision though ophthalmoparesis was not appreciated. Her gait was normal. While hospitalized, she developed generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Brain MRI revealed a small area of restricted diffusion of the left precentral gyrus (figure). She was diagnosed with a stroke with secondary seizures; however, as the confusional state resolved, she developed profound retrograde and anterograde amnesia. Review of the brain MRI showed high T2 signal in the medial thalamus and contrast enhancement of the mamillary bodies; a diagnosis of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome was entertained and she was started on thiamine replacement. The encephalopathy and hemiparesis resolved though she remains severely amnestic.
PMCID: PMC3787112  PMID: 24195023
21.  Assessing the Temporal Relationship Between Cognition and Gait: Slow Gait Predicts Cognitive Decline in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging 
The association between gait speed and cognition has been reported; however, there is limited knowledge about the temporal associations between gait slowing and cognitive decline among cognitively normal individuals.
The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging is a population-based study of Olmsted County, Minnesota, United States, residents aged 70–89 years. This analysis included 1,478 cognitively normal participants who were evaluated every 15 months with a nurse visit, neurologic evaluation, and neuropsychological testing. The neuropsychological battery used nine tests to compute domain-specific (memory, language, executive function, and visuospatial skills) and global cognitive z-scores. Timed gait speed (m/s) was assessed over 25 feet (7.6 meters) at a usual pace. Using mixed models, we examined baseline gait speed (continuous and in quartiles) as a predictor of cognitive decline and baseline cognition as a predictor of gait speed changes controlling for demographics and medical conditions.
Cross-sectionally, faster gait speed was associated with better performance in memory, executive function, and global cognition. Both cognitive scores and gait speed declined over time. A faster gait speed at baseline was associated with less cognitive decline across all domain-specific and global scores. These results were slightly attenuated after excluding persons with incident mild cognitive impairment or dementia. By contrast, baseline cognition was not associated with changes in gait speed.
Our study suggests that slow gait precedes cognitive decline. Gait speed may be useful as a reliable, easily attainable, and noninvasive risk factor for cognitive decline.
PMCID: PMC3712358  PMID: 23250002
Gait speed; Cognition; Longitudinal; Cohort study.
22.  Criteria for Mild Cognitive Impairment Due to Alzheimer’s Disease in the Community 
Annals of neurology  2013;74(2):199-208.
The newly proposed National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association (NIA-AA) criteria for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) suggest a combination of clinical features and biomarker measures, but their performance in the community is not known.
The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA) is a population-based longitudinal study of non-demented subjects in Olmsted County, Minnesota. A sample of 154 MCI subjects from the MCSA was compared to a sample of 58 amnestic MCI subjects from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative 1 (ADNI 1) to assess the applicability of the criteria in both settings and to assess their outcomes.
In the MCSA, 14% and in ADNI 1 16% of subjects were biomarker negative. In addition, 14% of the MCSA and 12% of ADNI 1 subjects had evidence for amyloid deposition only, while 43% of MCSA and 55% of ADNI 1 subjects had evidence for amyloid deposition plus neurodegeneration (MRI atrophy, FDG PET hypometabolism or both). However, a considerable number of subjects had biomarkers inconsistent with the proposed AD model, e.g., 29% of MCSA subjects and 17% of the ADNI 1 subjects had evidence for neurodegeneration without amyloid deposition. These subjects may not be on an AD pathway. Neurodegeneration appears to be a key factor in predicting progression relative to amyloid deposition alone.
The NIA-AA criteria apply to most MCI subjects in both the community and clinical trials settings however, a sizeable proportion of subjects had conflicting biomarkers which may be very important and need to be explored.
PMCID: PMC3804562  PMID: 23686697
23.  Depressive Symptoms in Healthy Apolipoprotein E ε4 Carriers and Noncarriers: A Longitudinal Study 
The Journal of clinical psychiatry  2013;74(12):1256-1261.
To determine if symptoms of depression accelerate in cognitively normal apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 carriers as compared to noncarriers.
Six hundred thirty-three cognitively and functionally normal members of the Arizona APOE Cohort aged 21–86 years underwent neuropsychological testing every 1 to 2 years that included the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Geriatric Depression Scale, and the Personality Assessment Inventory. We estimated the longitudinal change on these measures using mixed models that simultaneously modeled cross-sectional and longitudinal effects of age on depression scores by APOE status and the interaction between the two. We also estimated incident depression on the basis of accepted clinical cut-scores on depression measures and use of depression medications.
The mean length of follow-up was 7.7 years. Comparing APOE ε4 carriers with noncarriers revealed no significant longitudinal difference in the rate of change or slope of change on any depression scale or subscale. There was also no difference in incident depression or antidepressant drug use between the carrier and noncarrier groups.
These data fail to support a relationship between APOE genotype and longitudinal change in depression symptoms, suggesting that depression symptoms may not be intrinsic to the early preclinical phase of Alzheimer’s disease.
PMCID: PMC4097601  PMID: 24434095
24.  MRI and MRS predictors of mild cognitive impairment in a population-based sample 
Neurology  2013;81(2):126-133.
To investigate MRI and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) predictors of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in cognitively normal older adults.
Subjects were cognitively normal older adults (n = 1,156) who participated in the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging MRI/MRS study from August 2005 to December 2010 and had at least one annual clinical follow-up. Single-voxel MRS was performed from the posterior cingulate gyri, and hippocampal volumes and white matter hyperintensity volumes were quantified using automated methods. Brain infarcts were assessed on MRI. Cox proportional hazards regression, with age as the time scale, was used to assess the effect of MRI and MRS markers on the risk of progression from cognitively normal to MCI. Linear mixed-effects models were used to assess the effect of MRI and MRS markers on cognitive decline.
After a median follow-up of 2.8 years, 214 participants had progressed to MCI or dementia (estimated incidence rate = 6.1% per year; 95% confidence interval = 5.3%–7.0%). In univariable modeling, hippocampal volume, white matter hyperintensity volume, and N-acetylaspartate/myo-inositol were significant predictors of MCI in cognitively normal older adults. In multivariable modeling, only decreased hippocampal volume and N-acetylaspartate/myo-inositol were independent predictors of MCI. These MRI/MRS predictors of MCI as well as infarcts were associated with cognitive decline (p < 0.05).
Quantitative MRI and MRS markers predict progression to MCI and cognitive decline in cognitively normal older adults. MRS may contribute to the assessment of preclinical dementia pathologies by capturing neurodegenerative changes that are not detected by hippocampal volumetry.
PMCID: PMC3770173  PMID: 23761624
25.  Cognitive outcomes of patients undergoing therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest 
Neurology  2013;81(1):40-45.
We aimed to study the long-term cognitive abilities of patients surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrest who were treated with therapeutic hypothermia (TH).
We prospectively identified and examined consecutive survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest who underwent TH at our institution from June 2006 to May 2011. The results of brain imaging, serum neuron-specific enolase (NSE) measurements, and EEGs were recorded. We assessed cognitive domains using the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status. An education-adjusted score of ≥32 was considered normal.
Of 133 total patients, 77 (58%) were alive at a median follow-up of 20 months (interquartile range 14–24 months). We interviewed 56 patients (73% of those alive). Median age was 67 years (range 24–88 years). Fifty-one patients (91%) were living independently. Modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status scores ranged from 16 to 41. Thirty-three (60%) were considered cognitively normal and 22 (40%) were cognitively impaired. The time to assessment did not differ among the cognitive outcomes (p = 0.557). The median duration of coma was 2 days, possibly indicating that patients with severe anoxic injury were not included. Eighteen patients were not working at the time of their cardiac arrest (17 were retired and 1 was unemployed). Of the 38 patients who were working up to the time of the cardiac arrest, 30 (79%) returned to work. Cognitive outcome was not associated with age, time to return of spontaneous circulation, brain atrophy, or leukoaraiosis.
The majority of surviving patients who underwent TH after cardiac arrest in this series had preserved cognitive function and were able to return to work.
PMCID: PMC3770208  PMID: 23685933

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