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1.  Progranulin protein levels are differently regulated in plasma and CSF 
Neurology  2014;82(21):1871-1878.
We aimed to investigate the relationship between plasma and CSF progranulin (PGRN) levels.
Plasma and CSF PGRN were measured in a cohort of 345 subjects from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging by ELISA. Single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping was performed using TaqMan assays. Associations between PGRN and sex, age at sample collection, diagnosis, single nucleotide polymorphism genotypes (GRN, SORT1, and APOE), and Pittsburgh compound B score were explored separately in CSF and plasma using single variable linear regression models. Pearson partial correlation coefficient was used to estimate the correlation of PGRN in CSF and plasma.
Plasma (p = 0.0031) and CSF (p = 0.0044) PGRN significantly increased with age, whereas plasma PGRN levels were 7% lower (p = 0.0025) and CSF PGRN levels 5% higher (p = 0.0024) in male compared with female participants. Correcting for age and sex, higher plasma PGRN was associated with higher CSF PGRN (partial r = 0.17, p = 0.004). In plasma, both rs5848 (GRN; p = 0.002) and rs646776 (SORT1; p = 3.56E-7) were associated with PGRN, while only rs5848 showed highly significant association in CSF (p = 5.59E-14). Age, sex, rs5848 genotype, and plasma PGRN together accounted for only 18% of the variability observed in CSF PGRN.
While some correlation exists between plasma and CSF PGRN, age, sex, and genetic factors differently affect PGRN levels. Therefore, caution should be taken when using plasma PGRN to predict PGRN changes in the brain. These findings further highlight that plasma PGRN levels may not accurately predict clinical features or response to future frontotemporal lobar degeneration therapies.
PMCID: PMC4105255  PMID: 24771538
2.  Baseline Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and the Risk of Incident Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study 
The American journal of psychiatry  2014;171(5):572-581.
We conducted a prospective cohort study to estimate the incidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by baseline neuropsychiatric status, in the setting of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.
A classification of normal cognitive aging, MCI, and dementia was adjudicated by an expert consensus panel based on published criteria. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were computed using Cox proportional hazards model, with age as a time scale. Baseline Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire data were available on 1,587 cognitively normal persons who underwent at least one follow-up visit.
We followed the cohort (N=1,587) to incident MCI (N=365) or censoring variables (N=179) for a median of 5 years. The following baseline neuropsychiatric symptoms significantly predicted incident MCI, after adjusting for age, sex, education and medical comorbidity: agitation (HR=3.06; 95% CI=1.89–4.93), apathy (HR=2.26; 95% CI=1.49–3.41), anxiety (HR=1.87; 95% CI=1.28–2.73), irritability (HR=1.84; 95% CI=1.31–2.58), and depression (HR=1.63; 95% CI=1.23–2.16). Delusion (HR=0.55; 95% CI=0.08–3.95) and hallucination (HR=1.48; 95% CI=0.37–5.99) did not predict incident MCI. A secondary analysis showed that euphoria (HR=11.3; 95% CI=3.44–37.2), disinhibition (HR=5.18; 95% CI=2.24–12.0) and nighttime behavior (HR=2.04; 95% CI=1.11–3.76) were significant predictors of non-amnestic MCI but not of amnestic MCI. By contrast, depression predicted amnestic MCI (HR=1.74; 95% CI=1.22–2.47) but not non-amnestic MCI (HR=1.18; 95% CI=0.64–2.16).
Non-psychotic symptoms predicted incident MCI. However, the associations between baseline euphoria, disinhibition, delusions, hallucinations, and the outcome of incident MCI should be considered preliminary since the observations were based on small number of events.
PMCID: PMC4057095  PMID: 24700290
3.  Association of type 2 diabetes with brain atrophy and cognitive impairment 
Neurology  2014;82(13):1132-1141.
We investigated the associations of diabetes and hypertension with imaging biomarkers (markers of neuronal injury and ischemic damage) and with cognition in a population-based cohort without dementia.
Participants (n = 1,437, median age 80 years) were evaluated by a nurse and physician and underwent neuropsychological testing. A diagnosis of cognitively normal, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or dementia was made by an expert panel. Participants underwent MRI to determine cortical and subcortical infarctions, white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume, hippocampal volume (HV), and whole brain volume (WBV). The medical records were reviewed for diabetes and hypertension in midlife or later.
Midlife diabetes was associated with subcortical infarctions (odds ratio, 1.85 [95% confidence interval, 1.09–3.15]; p = 0.02), reduced HV (−4% [−7 to −1.0]; p = 0.01), reduced WBV (−2.9% [−4.1 to −1.6]), and prevalent MCI (odds ratio, 2.08; p = 0.01). The association between diabetes and MCI persisted with adjustment for infarctions and WMH volume but was attenuated after adjustment for WBV (1.60 [0.87–2.95]; p = 0.13) and HV (1.82 [1.00–3.32]; p = 0.05). Midlife hypertension was associated with infarctions and WMH volume and was marginally associated with reduced performance in executive function. Effects of late-life onset of diabetes and hypertension were few.
Midlife onset of diabetes may affect late-life cognition through loss of brain volume. Midlife hypertension may affect executive function through ischemic pathology. Late-life onset of these conditions had fewer effects on brain pathology and cognition.
PMCID: PMC3966799  PMID: 24647028
4.  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
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.  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
7.  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
8.  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.
9.  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
10.  Brain Injury Biomarkers Are Not Dependent on β-amyloid in Normal Elderly 
Annals of neurology  2013;73(4):472-480.
The new criteria for preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) proposed 3 stages: abnormal levels of β-amyloid (stage 1); stage 1 plus evidence of brain injury (stage 2); and stage 2 plus subtle cognitive changes (stage 3). However, a large group of subjects with normal β-amyloid biomarkers have evidence of brain injury; we labeled them as “suspected non-Alzheimer pathway” (sNAP) group. The characteristics of the sNAP group are poorly understood.
Using the preclinical AD classification, 430 cognitively normal subjects from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging who underwent brain MR, 18fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) positron emission tomography (PET) were evaluated with FDG PET regional volumetrics, MR regional brain volumetrics, white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume and number of infarcts. We examined cross-sectional associations across AD preclinical stages, those with all biomarkers normal, and the sNAP group.
The sNAP group had a lower proportion (14%) with APOE ε4 genotype than the preclinical AD stages 2 + 3. The sNAP group did not show any group differences compared to stages 2 + 3 of the preclinical AD group on measures of FDG PET regional hypometabolism, MR regional brain volume loss, cerebrovascular imaging lesions, vascular risk factors, imaging changes associated with α-synucleinopathy or physical findings of parkinsonism.
Cognitively normal persons with brain injury biomarker abnormalities, with or without abnormal levels of β-amyloid, were indistinguishable on a variety of imaging markers, clinical features and risk factors. The initial appearance of brain injury biomarkers that occurs in cognitively normal persons with preclinical AD may not depend on β-amyloidosis.
PMCID: PMC3660408  PMID: 23424032
Alzheimer’s disease; PET imaging; MR imaging; Epidemiology
11.  Cardiac Disease Increases Risk of Non-amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment: Stronger impact in women 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(3):374-382.
Non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment (naMCI), a putative precursor of vascular and other non-Alzheimer’s disease dementias, is hypothesized to have a vascular etiology. We investigated the association of cardiac disease with amnestic (aMCI) and non-amnestic (naMCI) MCI.
A prospective, population-based, cohort study with a median 4.0 years of follow-up.
Olmsted County, Minnesota.
Participants were evaluated at baseline and every 15 months using the Clinical Dementia Rating scale, a neurological evaluation, and neuropsychological testing. A diagnosis of normal cognition, MCI, or dementia was made by consensus. Cardiac disease at baseline was assessed from the participant’s medical records.
Main outcome measures
Incident MCI, aMCI, naMCI.
Among 1,450 subjects free of MCI or dementia at baseline, 366 developed MCI. Cardiac disease was associated with an increased risk of naMCI (hazard ratio [HR] 95% confidence interval; 1.77 [1.16–2.72]). However, the association varied by sex (P for interaction = .02). Cardiac disease was associated with an increased risk of naMCI (HR, 3.07 [1.58–5.99]) in women, but not in men (HR, 1.16 [0.68–1.99]. Cardiac disease was not associated with any MCI or aMCI.
Cardiac disease is an independent risk factor for naMCI, within sex comparisons showed a stronger association in women. Prevention and management of cardiac disease and vascular risk factors may reduce the risk of naMCI.
PMCID: PMC3734560  PMID: 23358884
12.  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
13.  Selective Worsening of Brain Injury Biomarker Abnormalities in Cognitively Normal Elderly with β-amyloidosis 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(8):10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.182.
The appearance of β-amyloidosis and brain injury biomarkers in cognitively normal (CN) persons is thought to define risk for the future development of cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but their interaction is poorly understood.
To test the hypothesis that the joint presence of β-amyloidosis and brain injury biomarkers would lead to more rapid neurodegeneration.
Longitudinal Cohort Study
Population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.
191 CN persons (median age 77, range 71–93) in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging who underwent MR, FDG PET and PiB PET imaging at least twice 15 months apart. Subjects were grouped according to the recommendations of the NIA-AA Preclinical AD criteria, based on the presence of β-amyloidosis, defined as a PiB PET SUVr >1.5, alone (Stage 1) or with brain injury (stage 2+3), defined as hippocampal atrophy or FDG hypometabolism. We also studied a group of MCI (n=17) and dementia (n=9) patients from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging or the Mayo Alzheimer Center with similar follow-up times who had had comparable imaging and who all had PiB PET SUVr >1.5.
Main Outcome Measures
Rate of change of cortical volume on volumetric MR scans and rate of change of glucose metabolism on FDG PET scans.
There were 25 CN subjects with both high PiB retention and low hippocampal volume or FDG hypometabolism at baseline (Preclinical AD stages 2+3). On follow-up scans, the Preclinical AD stages 2+3 subjects had greater loss of medial temporal lobe volume and greater glucose hypometabolism in the medial temporal lobe compared to other CN groups. The changes were similar to the cognitively impaired participants. Extra-temporal regions did not show similar changes.
Higher rates of medial temporal neurodegeneration occurred in CN individuals who, on their initial scans, had abnormal levels of both β-amyloid and brain injury biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3884555  PMID: 23797806
Alzheimer’s disease; PET imaging; MR imaging; Epidemiology
14.  Caloric Intake, Aging, and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study 
In a population-based case-control study, we examined whether moderate and high caloric intakes are differentially associated with the odds of having mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The sample was derived from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Non-demented study participants aged 70–92 years (1,072 cognitively normal persons and 161 subjects with MCI) reported their caloric consumption within 1 year of the date of interview by completing a Food Frequency Questionnaire. An expert consensus panel classified each subject as either cognitively normal or having MCI based on published criteria. We conducted multivariable logistic regression analyses to compute odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) after adjusting for age, sex, education, depression, medical comorbidity, and body mass index. We also conducted stratified analyses by apolipoprotein E ε4 genotype status. Analyses were conducted in tertiles of caloric intake: 600 to <1,526 kcals per day (reference group); 1,526 to 2,143 kcals per day (moderate caloric intake group); and >2,143 kcals per day (high caloric intake group). In the primary analysis, there was no significant difference between the moderate caloric intake group and the reference group (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.53–1.42, p = 0.57). However, high caloric intake was associated with a nearly two-fold increased odds of having MCI (OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.26–3.06, p = 0.003) as compared to the reference group. Therefore, high caloric intake was associated with MCI but not moderate caloric intake. This association is not necessarily a cause-effect relationship.
PMCID: PMC3578975  PMID: 23234878
aging; APOE ε4 genotype; caloric intake; mild cognitive impairment; population-based
15.  Effect of Lifestyle Activities on AD Biomarkers and Cognition 
Annals of neurology  2012;72(5):730-738.
To investigate the effect of intellectual and physical activity on biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathophysiology and cognition in a non-demented elderly population. The biomarkers evaluated were brain Aβ-amyloid load via PIB-PET, neuronal dysfunction via FDG-PET and neurodegeneration via Structural-MRI.
We studied 515 non-demented (428 cognitively normal and 87 MCI) participants in the population based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging who completed a 3T MRI, PET scans, APOE genotype, had lifestyle activity measures and cognition data available. The imaging measures computed were global PiB-PET uptake; global FDG-PET and MRI based hippocampal volume. We consolidated activity variables into lifetime intellectual, current intellectual and current physical activities. We used a global cognitive Z-score as a measure of cognition. We applied two independent methods – partial correlation analysis adjusted for age and gender and path analysis using structural equations to evaluate the associations between lifestyle activities, imaging biomarkers and global cognition.
None of the lifestyle variables correlated with the biomarkers and the path associations between lifestyle variables and biomarkers were not significant (p>0.05). On the other hand, all the biomarkers were correlated with global cognitive Z-score (p<0.05) and the path associations between (lifetime and current) intellectual activities and global Z-score were significant (p<0.01).
Intellectual and physical activity lifestyle factors were not associated with AD biomarkers but intellectual lifestyle factors explained variability in the cognitive performance in this non-demented population. This study provides evidence that lifestyle activities may delay the onset of dementia but do not significantly influence the expression of AD pathophysiology.
PMCID: PMC3539211  PMID: 23280791
Alzheimer’s disease; Imaging biomarkers; Lifestyle Activities
16.  Indicators of amyloid burden in a population-based study of cognitively normal elderly 
Neurology  2012;79(15):1570-1577.
Secondary prevention trials in subjects with preclinical Alzheimer disease may require documentation of brain amyloidosis. The identification of inexpensive and noninvasive screening variables that can identify individuals who have significant amyloid accumulation would reduce screening costs.
A total of 483 cognitively normal (CN) individuals, aged 70–92 years, from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, underwent Pittsburgh compound B (PiB)–PET imaging. Logistic regression determined whether age, sex, APOE genotype, family history, or cognitive performance was associated with odds of a PiB retention ratio >1.4 and >1.5. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) evaluated the discrimination between PiB-positive and -negative subjects. For each characteristic, we determined the number needed to screen in each age group (70–79 and 80–89) to identify 100 participants with PiB >1.4 or >1.5.
A total of 211 (44%) individuals had PiB >1.4 and 151 (31%) >1.5. In univariate and multivariate models, discrimination was modest (AUROC ∼0.6–0.7). Multivariately, age and APOE best predicted odds of PiB >1.4 and >1.5. Subjective memory complaints were similar to cognitive test performance in predicting PiB >1.5. Indicators of PiB positivity varied with age. Screening APOE ε4 carriers alone reduced the number needed to screen to enroll 100 subjects with PIB >1.5 by 48% in persons aged 70–79 and 33% in those aged 80–89.
Age and APOE genotype are useful predictors of the likelihood of significant amyloid accumulation, but discrimination is modest. Nonetheless, these results suggest that inexpensive and noninvasive measures could significantly reduce the number of CN individuals needed to screen to enroll a given number of amyloid-positive subjects.
PMCID: PMC3475629  PMID: 22972644
17.  Comparison of imaging biomarkers in ADNI versus the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging 
Archives of neurology  2012;69(5):614-622.
To determine whether MRI measurements observed in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI; convenience-sample) differ from those observed in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA; population-based sample).
Comparison of two samples.
59 recruiting sites for the ADNI in US/Canada, and the MCSA, a population-based cohort in Olmsted County, MN.
Cognitively normal (CN) subjects and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) subjects were selected from the ADNI convenience cohort and MCSA population-based cohort. Two samples were selected; the first was a simple random sample of subjects from both cohorts in the same age range, and the second applied matching for age, sex, education, apolipoprotein E genotype, and Mini-Mental State Examination.
Main outcome measures
Baseline hippocampal volumes and annual percent decline in hippocampal volume.
In the population-based sample, MCSA subjects were older, less educated, performed worse on MMSE, and less often had family history of AD than ADNI subjects. Baseline hippocampal volumes were larger in ADNI compared to MCSA CN subjects in the random sample, although no differences were observed after matching. Rates of decline in hippocampal volume were greater in ADNI compared to MCSA for both CN and aMCI, even after matching.
Rates of decline in hippocampal volume suggest that ADNI subjects have more aggressive brain pathology than MCSA subjects, and hence may not be representative of the general population. These findings have implications for treatment trials that employ ADNI-like recruitment mechanisms and for studies validating new diagnostic criteria for AD in its various stages.
PMCID: PMC3569033  PMID: 22782510
18.  An Operational Approach to NIA-AA Criteria for Preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease 
Annals of neurology  2012;71(6):765-775.
A workgroup commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Association (AA) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) recently published research criteria for preclinical Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We performed a preliminary assessment of these guidelines.
We employed Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography (PET) imaging as our biomarker of cerebral amyloidosis and 18fluorodeoxyglucose PET imaging and hippocampal volume as biomarkers of neurodegeneration. A group of 42 clinically diagnosed AD subjects was used to create imaging biomarker cut-points. A group of 450 cognitively normal (CN) subjects from a population based sample was used to develop cognitive cut-points and to assess population frequencies of the different preclinical AD stages using different cut-point criteria.
The new criteria subdivide the preclinical phase of AD into stages 1–3. To classify our CN subjects, two additional categories were needed. Stage 0 denotes subjects with normal AD biomarkers and no evidence of subtle cognitive impairment. Suspected Non-AD Pathophysiology (SNAP) denotes subjects with normal amyloid PET imaging, but abnormal neurodegeneration biomarker studies. At fixed cut-points corresponding to 90% sensitivity for diagnosing AD and the 10th percentile of CN cognitive scores, 43% of our sample was classified as stage 0; 16% stage 1; 12 % stage 2; 3% stage 3; and 23% SNAP.
This cross-sectional evaluation of the NIA-AA criteria for preclinical AD indicates that the 1–3 staging criteria coupled with stage 0 and SNAP categories classify 97% of CN subjects from a population-based sample, leaving just 3% unclassified. Future longitudinal validation of the criteria will be important.
PMCID: PMC3586223  PMID: 22488240
19.  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
20.  Computer Activities, Physical Exercise, Aging, and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study 
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2012;87(5):437-442.
To examine the association between computer use, physical exercise, aging, and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Patients and Methods
The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging is a population-based study of aging and MCI in Olmsted County, Minnesota. The study sample consists of a random sample of 926 nondemented individuals aged 70 to 93 years who completed self-reported questionnaires on physical exercise, computer use, and caloric intake within 1 year of the date of interview. The study was conducted from April 1, 2006, through November 30, 2008. An expert consensus panel classified each study participant as cognitively normal or having MCI on the basis of published criteria.
Using a multivariable logistic regression model, we examined the impact of the presence during the study period of 2 lifestyle factors (physical exercise and computer use) after adjusting for a third lifestyle factor (caloric intake) on aging and MCI. We also adjusted for age, sex, education, medical comorbidity, and depression. The median daily caloric intake was significantly higher in participants with MCI than in controls (odds ratio, 1.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.06; P=.001). Participants who engaged in both moderate physical exercise and computer use had significantly decreased odds of having MCI (odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 0.36 [0.20-0.68]) compared with the reference group. In the interaction analyses, there was an additive interaction (P=.012) but not multiplicative interaction (P=.780).
In this population-based sample, the presence of both physical exercise and computer use as assessed via survey was associated with decreased odds of having MCI, after adjustment for caloric intake and traditional confounders.
PMCID: PMC3538471  PMID: 22560523
CDR, Clinical Dementia Rating; CI, confidence interval; MCI, mild cognitive impairment; OR, odds ratio
21.  Engaging in Cognitive Activities, Aging and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study 
We investigated whether engaging in cognitive activities is associated with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in a cross-sectional study derived from an ongoing population-based study of normal cognitive aging and MCI in Olmsted County, Minnesota. A random sample of 1321 non-demented study participants ages 70 to 89 (n = 1124 cognitively normal persons and n = 197 subjects with MCI) was interviewed about the frequency of cognitive activities carried out in late life (within one year of the date of interview). Computer activities [OR (95% CI) = 0.50 (0.36, 0.71); p < .0001)], craft activities such as knitting, quilting, etc. [0.66 (0.47, 0.93); p = 0.019)], playing games [0.65 (0.47, 0.90); p = 0.010)], and reading books [0.67 (0.49, 0.94); p = 0.019)] were associated with decreased odds of having MCI. Social activities such as traveling were marginally significant [0.71 (0.51, 1.00); p = 0.050)]. Even though the point estimates for reading magazines, playing music, artistic activities, and group activities were associated with reduced odds of having MCI, none reached statistical significance. We could not expect to observe any difference between the two groups on the variable of reading newspapers since almost identical proportions of the two groups (97.4% of normals and 97.5% of the MCI group) were engaged in reading newspapers on a regular basis.
PMCID: PMC3204924  PMID: 21677242
cognitive activities; aging; mild cognitive impairment
22.  Vegetables, Unsaturated Fats, Moderate Alcohol Intake, and Mild Cognitive Impairment 
To investigate associations of the Mediterranean diet (MeDi) components and the MeDi score with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Participants (aged 70–89 years) were clinically evaluated to assess MCI and dementia, and completed a 128-item food frequency questionnaire.
163 of 1,233 nondemented persons had MCI. The odds ratio of MCI was reduced for high vegetable intake [0.66 (95% CI = 0.44–0.99), p = 0.05] and for high mono-plus polyunsaturated fatty acid to saturated fatty acid ratio [0.52 (95% CI = 0.33–0.81), p = 0.007], adjusted for confounders. The risk of incident MCI or dementia was reduced in subjects with a high MeDi score [hazard ratio = 0.75 (95% CI = 0.46–1.21), p = 0.24].
Vegetables, unsaturated fats, and a high MeDi score may be beneficial to cognitive function.
PMCID: PMC2889256  PMID: 20502015
Mild cognitive impairment; Dietary intake; Moderate alcohol intake; Unsaturated fatty acids; Mediterranean diet; Longitudinal; Prevalence studies; Incidence studies; Population-based
23.  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
24.  Association of Prior Stroke with Cognitive Function and Cognitive Impairment: A Population-based Study 
Archives of neurology  2009;66(5):614-619.
Defining the nature of the contribution of stroke to cognitive impairment remains challenging.
We randomly selected Olmsted County, MN residents aged 70–89 years on October 1, 2004 and invited eligible non-demented subjects to participate. Participants (n = 2,050) were evaluated with an informant interview, a neurological evaluation, and neuropsychological testing. Neuropsychological testing included 9 tests to assess memory, attention and executive function, visuospatial cognition and language. Subjects were diagnosed by consensus as cognitively normal, MCI (either amnestic (a-) or non-amnestic (na-)), or dementia. A history of stroke was obtained from the subject and confirmed in the medical record. We computed the odds ratios (OR) for a clinical diagnosis of MCI or for scoring in the lowest quartile on each cognitive domain.
There were 1640 cognitively normal and 329 MCI subjects, 241 a-MCI and 88 na-MCI. In fully adjusted models with non-demented subjects only, a history of stroke was associated with a higher odds ratio (OR) of na-MCI (OR= 2.85, 95% CI 1.61 – 5.04) than a-MCI (OR= 1.77, 95% CI 1.14 – 2.74). A history of stroke was also associated with impaired function in each cognitive domain except memory. The association was strongest for attention and executive function (OR=2.48, 95% CI 1.73 – 3.53). APOE e4 genotype was associated only with a-MCI and with impaired memory function.
In this population-based sample of non-demented persons, a history of stroke was particularly associated with na-MCI and with impairment in non-memory cognition. APOE e4 genotype was associated with memory impairment and a-MCI.
PMCID: PMC3050015  PMID: 19433661
25.  Metabolic Syndrome, Inflammation, and Non-Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment in Older Persons: A Population-Based Study 
The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is more strongly associated with cognitive impairment in the presence of inflammation. This suggests that the association of MetS with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may vary with the etiology and the subtype of MCI. This study investigated the association between MetS with or without inflammation and MCI (amnestic [a-MCI] and non-amnestic [na-MCI]). We studied a randomly selected sample of 1969 subjects (ages 70 to 89 years) from Olmsted County, MN, using the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, a neurological evaluation, and neuropsychological testing. Data for participants were reviewed for a diagnosis of normal cognition, MCI, or dementia. Clinical components of MetS were ascertained by interview and confirmed from the medical records; biochemical measurements were assayed from a blood draw. We compared 88 na-MCI cases and 241 a-MCI cases with 1640 cognitively normal subjects. MetS was not associated with either na-MCI or a-MCI. High C-reactive protein (CRP highest tertile vs lowest tertile) was associated with na-MCI (odds ratio [OR] = 1.85; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.05, 3.24) but not with a-MCI, after adjusting for sex, age, and years of education. The combination of MetS and high CRP (compared to no Mets and lowest CRP tertile) was associated with na-MCI (OR = 2.31; 95% CI = 1.07, 5.00), but not with a-MCI (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.59, 1.54). The combined presence of MetS and high levels of inflammation is associated with na-MCI in this elderly cohort, and suggests etiologic differences in MCI subtypes.
PMCID: PMC2837096  PMID: 19568151
metabolic syndrome; insulin resistance; mild cognitive impairment; C-reactive protein; inflammation; cross-sectional study

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