The earliest cognitive deficits observed in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) appear to center on memory tasks that require relational memory (RM), the ability to link or integrate unrelated pieces of information. RM impairments in aMCI likely reflect neural changes in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) and posterior parietal cortex (PPC). We tested the hypothesis that individuals with aMCI, as compared to cognitively normal (CN) controls, would recruit neural regions outside of the MTL and PPC to support relational memory. To this end, we directly compared the neural underpinnings of successful relational retrieval in aMCI and CN groups, using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), holding constant the stimuli and encoding task. The fMRI data showed that the CN, compared to the aMCI, group activated left precuneus, left angular gyrus, right posterior cingulate, and right parahippocampal cortex during relational retrieval, while the aMCI group, relative to the CN group, activated superior temporal gyrus and supramarginal gyrus for this comparison. Such findings indicate an early shift in the functional neural architecture of relational retrieval in aMCI, and may prove useful in future studies aimed at capitalizing on functionally intact neural regions as targets for treatment and slowing of the disease course. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1-12).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Researchers have long debated whether knowledge about the self is unique in terms of its functional anatomic representation within the human brain. In the context of memory function, knowledge about the self is typically remembered better than other types of semantic information. But why does this memorial effect emerge? Extending previous research on this topic (see Craik et al., 1999), the present study used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate potential neural substrates of self-referential processing. Participants were imaged while making judgments about trait adjectives under three experimental conditions (self-relevance, other-relevance, or case judgment). Relevance judgments, when compared to case judgments, were accompanied by activation of the left inferior frontal cortex and the anterior cingulate. A separate region of the medial prefrontal cortex was selectively engaged during self-referential processing. Collectively, these findings suggest that self-referential processing is functionally dissociable from other forms of semantic processing within the human brain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous research has demonstrated that sport-related concussions can have short-term effects on cognitive processes, but the long-term consequences are less understood and warrant more research. This study was the first to utilize event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine long-term differences in neural activity during memory tasks in former athletes who have sustained multiple sport-related concussions. In an event-related fMRI study, former football players reporting multiple sport-related concussions (i.e., three or more) were compared to players who reported fewer than three concussions during a memory paradigm examining item memory (i.e., memory for the particular elements of an event) and relational memory (i.e., memory for the relationships between elements). Behaviorally, we observed that concussion history did not significantly affect behavioral performance, as individuals in the low and high concussion groups had equivalent performance on both memory tasks, and additionally, that concussion history was not associated with any behavioral memory measures. Despite demonstrating equivalent behavioral performance, the two groups of former players demonstrated different neural recruitment patterns during relational memory retrieval, suggesting that multiple concussions may be associated with functional inefficiencies in the relational memory network. In addition, the number of prior concussions significantly correlated with functional activity in a number of brain regions, including the medial temporal lobe and inferior parietal lobe. Our results provide important insights in understanding the long-term functional consequences of sustaining multiple sports-related concussions. Keywords: MRI, cognitive function, head trauma.
Journal of neurotrauma 05/2013; 30(20). DOI:10.1089/neu.2012.2535 · 3.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Episodic memory is typically affected during the course of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Due to the pronounced heterogeneity of functional neuroimaging studies on episodic memory impairments in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD regarding their methodology and findings, we aimed to delineate consistent episodic memory-related brain activation patterns. We performed a systematic, quantitative, coordinate-based whole-brain activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis of 28 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies comprising 292 MCI and 102 AD patients contrasted to 409 age-matched control subjects. We included episodic encoding and/or retrieval phases, investigated the effects of group, verbal or image stimuli and correlated mean Mini-Mental-Status-Examination (MMSE) scores with the modelled activation estimates. MCI patients presented increased right hippocampal activation during memory encoding, decreased activation in the left hippocampus and fusiform gyrus during retrieval tasks, as well as attenuated activation in the right anterior insula/inferior frontal gyrus during verbal retrieval. In AD patients, however, stronger activation within the precuneus during encoding tasks was accompanied by attenuated right hippocampal activation during retrieval tasks. Low cognitive performance (MMSE scores) was associated with stronger activation of the precuneus and reduced activation of the right (para)hippocampus and anterior insula/inferior frontal gyrus. This meta-analysis provides evidence for a specific and probably disease stage-dependent brain activation pattern related to the pathognomonic AD characteristic of episodic memory loss.
Brain Structure and Function 03/2014; 220(3). DOI:10.1007/s00429-014-0744-6 · 5.62 Impact Factor
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