Pre-dementia memory impairment is associated with white matter tract affection

Ramune Grambaite, Ivar Reinvang, Per Selnes, Anders M Fjell, Kristine B Walhovd, Vidar Stenset, Tormod Fladby
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society: JINS 2011, 17 (1): 143-53
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), especially amnestic, often represents pre-dementia Alzheimer's disease, characterized by medial temporal lobe atrophy, while white matter (WM) alterations are insufficiently described. We analyze both cortical morphometric and WM diffusivity differences in amnestic versus non-amnestic subtypes and ask if memory and WM tract affection are related independently of cortical atrophy. Forty-nine patients from a university-hospital based memory clinic with a score of 3 on the Global Deterioration Scale aged 43-77 years (45% female) were included. Two neuropsychologists have classified cases as amnestic (aMCI), non-amnestic (naMCI), or less advanced (laMCI), not satisfying criteria for aMCI/naMCI. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) WM tract and morphometric data of the temporal-parietal memory network were compared among patient subtypes and related to story, word list, and visual memory. WM radial and mean diffusivity (DR and MD), underlying the entorhinal cortex, were higher in aMCI compared with laMCI. WM DR and MD, underlying the entorhinal, parahippocampal, and middle temporal cortex, explained unique variance in word list and story memory, and this was not due to secondary effects of cortical thinning. DTI may thus potentially aid diagnosis in early disease stages. ).

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