Association of Lifetime Cognitive Engagement and Low β-Amyloid Deposition.
ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between lifestyle practices (cognitive and physical activity) and β-amyloid deposition, measured with positron emission tomography using carbon 11-labeled Pittsburgh Compound B ([(11)C]PiB), in healthy older individuals. DESIGN: Cross-sectional clinical study. SETTING: Berkeley, California. PARTICIPANTS: Volunteer sample of 65 healthy older individuals (mean age, 76.1 years), 10 patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) (mean age, 74.8 years), and 11 young controls (mean age, 24.5 years) were studied from October 31, 2005, to February 22, 2011. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Cortical [(11)C]PiB average (frontal, parietal, lateral temporal, and cingulate regions) and retrospective, self-report scales assessing participation in cognitive activities (eg, reading, writing, and playing games) and physical exercise. RESULTS: Greater participation in cognitively stimulating activities across the lifespan, but particularly in early and middle life, was associated with reduced [(11)C]PiB uptake (P < .001, accounting for age, sex, and years of education). Older participants in the highest cognitive activity tertile had [(11)C]PiB uptake comparable to young controls, whereas those in the lowest cognitive activity tertile had [(11)C]PiB uptake comparable to patients with AD. Although greater cognitive activity was associated with greater physical exercise, exercise was not associated with [(11)C]PiB uptake. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with greater early- and middle- life cognitive activity had lower [(11)C]PiB uptake. The tendency to participate in cognitively stimulating activities is likely related to engagement in a variety of lifestyle practices that have been implicated in other studies showing reduced risk of AD-related pathology. We report a direct association between cognitive activity and [(11)C]PiB uptake, suggesting that lifestyle factors found in individuals with high cognitive engagement may prevent or slow deposition of β-amyloid, perhaps influencing the onset and progression of AD.
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ABSTRACT: Brain amyloid can be measured using positron emission tomography (PET). There are mixed reports regarding whether amyloid measures are correlated with measures of cognition (in particular memory), depending on the cohorts and cognitive domains assessed. In Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and those at heightened risk for AD, cognitive performance may be related to the level and extent of classical AD pathology (amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary angles), but it is also influenced by neurodegeneration, neurocognitive reserve, and vascular health. We discuss what recent neuroimaging research has discovered about cognitive deficits in AD and offer suggestions for future research.Trends in Cognitive Sciences 09/2013; · 16.01 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: An increasing number of studies have relied on brain imaging to assess the effects of cognitive training in healthy aging populations and in persons with early Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). At the structural level, cognitive training in healthy aging individuals has been associated with increased brain volume, cortical thickness, and density and coherence of white matter tracts. At the functional level, task-related brain activation (using fMRI and PET) and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) were found to be sensitive to the effects of training. In persons with MCI, cognitive training increased brain metabolism and task-related brain activation, whereas healthy older adults showed patterns of increased and decreased activation. Further studies are required to generalize these findings to larger groups and to investigate more diverse training protocols. Research will also need to address important methodological issues regarding the use of biomarkers in cognitive aging, including reliability, clinical validity, and relevance to the pathophysiological process.Current translational geriatrics and experimental gerontology reports. 06/2012; 1(2):104-110.
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ABSTRACT: Understanding speech in noise is one of the most complex activities encountered in everyday life, relying on peripheral hearing, central auditory processing, and cognition. These abilities decline with age, and so older adults are often frustrated by a reduced ability to communicate effectively in noisy environments. Many studies have examined these factors independently; in the last decade, however, the idea of the auditory-cognitive system has emerged, recognizing the need to consider the processing of complex sounds in the context of dynamic neural circuits. Here, we use structural equation modeling to evaluate interacting contributions of peripheral hearing, central processing, cognitive ability, and life experiences to understanding speech in noise. We recruited 120 older adults (ages 55 to 79) and evaluated their peripheral hearing status, cognitive skills, and central processing. We also collected demographic measures of life experiences, such as physical activity, intellectual engagement, and musical training. In our model, central processing and cognitive function predicted a significant proportion of variance in the ability to understand speech in noise. To a lesser extent, life experience predicted hearing-in-noise ability through modulation of brainstem function. Peripheral hearing levels did not significantly contribute to the model. Previous musical experience modulated the relative contributions of cognitive ability and lifestyle factors to hearing in noise. Our models demonstrate the complex interactions required to hear in noise and the importance of targeting cognitive function, lifestyle, and central auditory processing in the management of individuals who are having difficulty hearing in noise.Hearing research 03/2013; · 2.18 Impact Factor