Cognitive reserve and cortical thickness in preclinical Alzheimer's disease.
ABSTRACT: This study examined whether cognitive reserve (CR) alters the relationship between magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of cortical thickness and risk of progression from normal cognition to the onset of clinical symptoms associated with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The analyses included 232 participants from the BIOCARD study. Participants were cognitively normal and largely middle aged (M age = 56.5) at their baseline MRI scan. After an average of 11.8 years of longitudinal follow-up, 48 have developed clinical symptoms of MCI or dementia (M time from baseline to clinical symptom onset = 7.0 years). Mean thickness was measured over eight 'AD vulnerable' cortical regions, and cognitive reserve was indexed by a composite score consisting of years of education, reading, and vocabulary measures. Using Cox regression models, CR and cortical thickness were each independently associated with risk of clinical symptom onset within 7 years of baseline, suggesting that the neuronal injury occurring proximal to symptom onset has a direct association with clinical outcomes, regardless of CR. In contrast, there was a significant interaction between CR and mean cortical thickness for risk of progression more than 7 years from baseline, suggesting that individuals with high CR are better able to compensate for cortical thinning that is beginning to occur at the very earliest phase of AD.
Project description:Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia are preceded by a phase of disease, referred to as 'preclinical AD', during which cognitively normal individuals have evidence of AD pathology in the absence of clinical impairment. This study examined whether a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measure of cortical thickness in brain regions, collectively known as 'AD vulnerable' regions, predicted the time to onset of clinical symptoms associated with MCI and whether cortical thickness was similarly predictive of clinical symptom onset within 7 years post baseline versus progression at a later point in time. These analyses included 240 participants from the BIOCARD study, a cohort of longitudinally followed individuals who were cognitively normal at the time of their MRI (mean age = 56 years). Participants have been followed for up to 18 years (M follow-up = 11.8 years) and 50 participants with MRIs at baseline have developed MCI or dementia over time (mean time to clinical symptom onset = 7 years). Cortical thickness in AD vulnerable regions was based on the mean thickness of eight cortical regions. Using Cox regression models, we found that lower mean cortical thickness was associated with an increased risk of progression from normal cognition to clinical symptom onset within 7 years of baseline (p = 0.03), but not with progression > 7 years from baseline (p = 0.30). Lower cortical thickness was also associated with higher levels of phosphorylated tau, measured in cerebrospinal fluid at baseline. These results suggest that cortical thinning in AD vulnerable regions is detectable in cognitively normal individuals several years prior to the onset of clinical symptoms that are a harbinger of a diagnosis of MCI, and that the changes are more likely to be evident in the years proximal to clinical symptom onset, consistent with hypothetical AD biomarker models.
Project description:We examined if baseline levels of cognitive reserve (CR) and of Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarkers modify the rate of change in cognition among individuals with normal cognition at baseline (n = 303, mean baseline age = 57 years, mean follow-up = 12 years); 66 participants subsequently developed mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia due to AD. CR was indexed by years of education, reading, and vocabulary measures. AD biomarkers were measured with a composite score composed of measures of amyloid, phosphorylated tau, and neurodegeneration. Higher CR scores were associated with better cognitive performance but did not modify the rate of change in cognition among those who remained cognitively normal, nor among those who progressed to MCI before symptom onset, independent of baseline biomarker levels. However, higher CR scores were associated with faster cognitive decline after symptom onset of MCI. These results suggest that the mechanism by which CR mediates the relationship between pathology and cognitive function is by delaying the onset of symptoms rather than reducing the rate of cognitive decline.
Project description:The levels of ?-amyloid (A?) and phosphorylated tau (p-tau), as measured in cerebrospinal fluid, have been associated with the risk of progressing from normal cognition to onset of clinical symptoms during preclinical Alzheimer's disease. We examined whether cognitive reserve (CR) modifies this association. Cerebrospinal fluid was obtained at baseline from 239 participants (mean age, 57.2 years) who had been followed for up to 17 years with clinical and cognitive assessments (mean follow-up, 8 years). A composite score based on the National Adult Reading Test, vocabulary, and years of education at baseline was used as an index of CR. Cox regression models showed that the increased risk of progressing from normal cognition to symptom onset was associated with lower CR, lower baseline A?, and higher baseline p-tau. There was no interaction between CR and A?, suggesting that the protective effects of higher CR are equivalent across the observed range of amyloid levels. In contrast, both tau and p-tau interacted with CR, indicating that CR was more protective at lower levels of tau and p-tau.
Project description:ABSTRACTObjective:There is increasing evidence of an association between depressive symptoms and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in cross-sectional studies, but the longitudinal association between depressive symptoms and risk of MCI onset is less clear. The authors investigated whether baseline symptom severity of depression was predictive of time to onset of symptoms of MCI. METHOD:These analyses included 300 participants from the BIOCARD study, a cohort of individuals who were cognitively normal at baseline (mean age = 57.4 years) and followed for up to 20 years (mean follow-up = 2.5 years). Depression symptom severity was measured using the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D). The authors assessed the association between dichotomous and continuous HAM-D and time to onset of MCI within 7 years versus after 7 years from baseline (reflecting the mean time from baseline to onset of clinical symptoms in the cohort) using Cox regression models adjusted for gender, age, and education. RESULTS:At baseline, subjects had a mean HAM-D score of 2.2 (SD = 2.8). Higher baseline HAM-D scores were associated with an increased risk of progression from normal cognition to clinical symptom onset ? 7 years from baseline (p = 0.043), but not with progression > 7 years from baseline (p = 0.194). These findings remained significant after adjustment for baseline cognition. CONCLUSIONS:These results suggest that low levels of depressive symptoms may be predictive of clinical symptom onset within approximately 7 years among cognitively normal individuals and may be useful in identifying persons at risk for MCI due to Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:To identify a cortical signature pattern of cortical thinning in familial Alzheimer disease (FAD) and assess its utility in detecting and tracking presymptomatic neurodegeneration.We recruited 43 FAD mutation carriers-36 PSEN1, 7 APP (20 symptomatic, 23 presymptomatic)-and 42 healthy controls to a longitudinal clinical and MRI study. T1-weighted MRI scans were acquired at baseline in all participants; 55 individuals (33 mutation carriers; 22 controls) had multiple (mean 2.9) follow-up scans approximately annually. Cortical thickness was measured using FreeSurfer. A cortical thinning signature was identified from symptomatic FAD participants. We then examined cortical thickness changes in this signature region in presymptomatic carriers and assessed associations with cognitive performance.The cortical signature included 6 regions: entorhinal cortex, inferior parietal cortex, precuneus, superior parietal cortex, superior frontal cortex, and supramarginal gyrus. There were significant differences in mean cortical signature thickness between mutation carriers and controls 3 years before predicted symptom onset. The earliest significant difference in a single region, detectable 4 years preonset, was in the precuneus. Rate of change in cortical thickness became significantly different in the cortical signature at 5 years before predicted onset, and in the precuneus at 8 years preonset. Baseline mean signature thickness predicted rate of subsequent thinning and correlated with presymptomatic cognitive change.The FAD cortical signature appears to be similar to that described for sporadic AD. All component regions showed significant presymptomatic thinning. A composite signature may provide more robust results than a single region and have utility as an outcome measure in presymptomatic trials.
Project description:Introduction:In a geographically diverse sample of women, we asked whether cognitive reserve (CR) is best viewed as a general or cognitive domain-specific construct and whether some cognitive reserve domains but not others exert protective effects on risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. Methods:Estimates of general and domain-specific CR were derived via variance decomposition in 972 cognitively intact women from the Women's Health Initiative Study of Cognitive Aging and Women's Health Memory Study Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Women were then followed up for 13 years. Results:General CR was the strongest predictor of reduced risk for both MCI and dementia, compared to domain-specific CR measures. Verbal memory, figural memory, and spatial CR were independently protective of MCI, but only verbal memory was independently associated with reduced risk for dementia. Discussion:Cognitive reserve is a heterogenous construct with valid quantitative measures identifiable across different neuropsychological processes associated with MCI and dementia.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Impairment in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) heralds the transition from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia and is a major source of burden for both the patient and caregiver. OBJECTIVE:To investigate the relationship between IADL and regional cortical thinning and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarkers cross-sectionally and longitudinally in clinically normal (CN) elderly, MCI, and mild AD dementia subjects. METHODS:Two hundred and twenty nine CN, 395 MCI, and 188 AD dementia subjects participating in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative underwent baseline magnetic resonance imaging, baseline lumbar puncture, and clinical assessments, including the Functional Activities Questionnaire used to measure IADL, every 6 to 12 months up to 3 years. General linear regression and mixed effects models were employed. RESULTS:IADL impairment was associated with the interactions between lower inferior temporal cortical thickness and diagnosis (p < 0.0001), greater lateral occipital cortical thickness and diagnosis (p < 0.0001), and greater amyloid-? 1-42 (A?1-42) and diagnosis (p = 0.0002) at baseline (driven by AD dementia). Lower baseline supramarginal (p = 0.02) and inferior temporal (p = 0.05) cortical thickness, lower A?1-42 (p < 0.0001), and greater total tau (t-tau) (p = 0.02) were associated with greater rate of IADL impairment over time. CONCLUSIONS:Temporal atrophy is associated with IADL impairment in mild AD dementia at baseline, while baseline parietal and temporal atrophy, lower CSF A?1-42, and greater t-tau predict worsening IADL impairment over time across the AD spectrum. These results emphasize the importance of assessing IADL at the stage of MCI and even at the transition from CN to MCI.
Project description:To investigate the combined ability of hippocampal volumes, 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) metabolites, and cerebrovascular disease to predict the risk of progression to dementia in mild cognitive impairment (MCI).We identified 151 consecutively recruited subjects with MCI from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and Patient Registry who underwent MRI and 1H MRS studies at baseline and were followed up with approximately annual clinical examinations. A multivariable proportional hazards model that considered all imaging predictors simultaneously was used to determine whether hippocampal volumes, posterior cingulate gyrus 1H MRS metabolites, white matter hyperintensity load, and presence of cortical and subcortical infarctions are complementary in predicting the risk of progression from MCI to dementia.Seventy-five subjects with MCI progressed to dementia by last follow-up. The model that best predicted progression to dementia included age, sex, hippocampal volumes, N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/creatine (Cr) on 1H MRS, and cortical infarctions. Based on age- and sex-adjusted Kaplan-Meier plots, we estimated that by 3 years, 26% of the MCI patients with normal hippocampal volumes, NAA/Cr ratios >1 SD, and no cortical infarctions will progress to dementia, compared with 78% of the MCI patients with hippocampal atrophy, low NAA/Cr (< or =1 SD), and cortical infarction.Multiple magnetic resonance (MR) markers of underlying dementia pathologies improve the ability to identify patients with prodromal dementia over a single MR marker, supporting the concept that individuals with multiple brain pathologies have increased odds of dementia compared with individuals with a single pathology.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To investigate the relationship between cognitive reserve (CR) and clinical progression across the Alzheimer disease (AD) spectrum. METHODS:We selected 839 ?-amyloid (A?)-positive participants with normal cognition (NC, n = 175), mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n = 437), or AD dementia (n = 227) from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). CR was quantified using standardized residuals (W scores) from a (covariate-adjusted) linear regression with global cognition (13-item Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale) as an independent variable of interest, and either gray matter volumes or white matter hyperintensity volume as dependent variables. These W scores, reflecting whether an individual's degree of cerebral damage is lower or higher than clinically expected, were tested as predictors of diagnostic conversion (i.e., NC to MCI/AD dementia, or MCI to AD dementia) and longitudinal changes in memory (ADNI-MEM) and executive functions (ADNI-EF). RESULTS:The median follow-up period was 24 months (interquartile range 6-42). Corrected for age, sex, APOE4 status, and baseline cerebral damage, higher gray matter volume-based W scores (i.e., greater CR) were associated with a lower diagnostic conversion risk (hazard ratio [HR] 0.22, p < 0.001) and slower decline in memory (? = 0.48, p < 0.001) and executive function (? = 0.67, p < 0.001). Stratified by disease stage, we found similar results for NC (diagnostic conversion: HR 0.30, p = 0.038; ADNI-MEM: ? = 0.52, p = 0.028; ADNI-EF: ? = 0.42, p = 0.077) and MCI (diagnostic conversion: HR 0.21, p < 0.001; ADNI-MEM: ? = 0.43, p = 0.003; ADNI-EF: ? = 0.59, p < 0.001), but opposite findings (i.e., more rapid decline) for AD dementia (ADNI-MEM: ? = -0.91, p = 0.002; ADNI-EF: ? = -0.77, p = 0.081). CONCLUSIONS:Among A?-positive individuals, greater CR related to attenuated clinical progression in predementia stages of AD, but accelerated cognitive decline after the onset of dementia.
Project description:Conflicting results have been reported regarding the association between white matter lesions (WML) and cognitive impairment. We hypothesized that education, a marker of cognitive reserve (CR), could modulate the effects of WML on the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia.We followed 500 healthy subjects from a cohort of community-dwelling persons aged 65 years and over (ESPRIT Project). At baseline, WML volume was measured using a semi-automatic method on T2-weighted MRI. Standardized cognitive and neurological evaluations were repeated after 2, 4, and 7 years. The sample was dichotomized according to education level into low (?8 years) and high (>8 years) education groups. Cox proportional hazard models were constructed to study the association between WML and risk of MCI/dementia.The interaction between education level and WML volume reached significance (p = 0.017). After adjustment for potential confounders, the association between severe WML and increased MCI/dementia risk was significant in the low education group (?8 years) (p = 0.02, hazard ratio [HR]: 3.77 [1.29-10.99]), but not in the high education group (>8 years) (p = 0.82, HR: 1.07 [0.61-1.87]).Severe WML significantly increases the risk of developing MCI/dementia over a 7-year period in low educated participants. Subjects with higher education levels were seen to be more likely to be resilient to the deleterious effects of severe WML. The CR hypothesis suggests several avenues for dementia prevention.