Spatial navigation-A unique window into physiological and pathological aging

Department of Neurology, Memory Disorders Clinic, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague and University Hospital Motol Prague 5, Czech Republic.
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 4). 06/2012; 4:16. DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2012.00016
Source: PubMed


Spatial navigation is a skill of determining and maintaining a trajectory from one place to another. Mild progressive decline of spatial navigation develops gradually during the course of physiological ageing. Nevertheless, severe spatial navigation deficit can be the first sign of incipient Alzheimer's disease (AD), occurring in the stage of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), preceding the development of a full blown dementia. Patients with amnestic MCI, especially those with the hippocampal type of amnestic syndrome, are at very high risk of AD. These patients present with the same pattern of spatial navigation impairment as do the patients with mild AD. Spatial navigation testing of elderly as well as computer tests developed for routine clinical use thus represents a possibility for further investigation of this cognitive domain, but most of all, an opportunity for making early diagnosis of AD.

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    • "Having the condition is widely considered to be a highly predictive risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's Disease (AD; Morris et al., 2001; Petersen, 2004) and there is therefore diverse research into identifying aMCI patients, understanding their cognitive impairments, and predicting later conversion to dementia (Blennow, Hampel, Weiner, & Zetterberg, 2010; Prvulovic, Bokde, Faltraco, & Hampel, 2011; Sperling, 2011; Wolk & Detre, 2012). There has been a recent emphasis on investigating spatial navigation in normal and pathological aging (Gazova et al., 2012; Iachini, Iavarone, Senese, Ruotolo, & Ruggiero, 2009; Lithfous, Dufour, & Després, 2013; Moffat, 2009). Spatial navigation impairments occur early in the progress of AD, where patients can be disoriented even in familiar surroundings (Henderson, Mack, & Williams, 1989; Monacelli, Cushman, Kavcic, & Duffy, 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Spatial navigation requires a well-established network of brain regions, including the hippocampus, caudate nucleus, and retrosplenial cortex. Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI) is a condition with predominantly memory impairment, conferring a high predictive risk factor for dementia. aMCI is associated with hippocampal atrophy and subtle deficits in spatial navigation. We present the first use of a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) navigation task in aMCI, using a virtual reality analog of the Radial Arm Maze. Compared with controls, aMCI patients showed reduced activity in the hippocampus bilaterally, retrosplenial cortex, and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Reduced activation in key areas for successful navigation, as well as additional regions, was found alongside relatively normal task performance. Results also revealed increased activity in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in aMCI patients, which may reflect compensation for reduced activations elsewhere. These data support suggestions that fMRI spatial navigation tasks may be useful for staging of progression in MCI.
    Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/13825585.2015.1073218 · 1.07 Impact Factor
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    • "The potential clinical implications of these findings are significant since long-term (i.e., sustained) modulation of multiple networks could improve patients' functioning across multiple domains. For example, patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer's dementia often demonstrate deficits in language, learning, and memory—including allocentric spatial navigation [1] [13] [18] [22] [31]. Thus, identifying a montage that modulates overlapping critical regions involved with each of these cognitive abilities could ultimately enhance performances across tasks. "
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    ABSTRACT: A number of studies have established that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) modulates cortical excitability. We previously demonstrated polarity dependent changes in parietal lobe blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) fMRI in a group of young adults during a spatial navigation task [15]. Here we used resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) to examine whether analogous changes were also evident during the resting state. Participants were randomized to either a parietal-anodal, frontal-cathodal (P+F-) or the opposite montage (P-F+) and received 20minutes of tDCS (2mA) before undergoing resting-state fMRI. rsFC was evaluated between the groups by placing a seed in the medial superior parietal lobule (mSPL), which was under the target electrode. rsFC between the mSPL and a number of other areas involved in spatial navigation, scene processing, and sensorimotor processing was significantly higher in the P+F- than the P-F+ group. Thus, the modulatory effects of tDCS were evident during rest and suggest that stimulation primes not just the underlying neocortex but an extended network that can be recruited as necessary during active task performance. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
    Neuroscience Letters 08/2015; 604. DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2015.07.042 · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    • "The main factor underlying the spatial navigation impairment in AD and MCI [16] [17] seem to be at first the allocentric scene memory and processing [12], supported by the medial temporal lobe system. Later, deterioration of other functions add to the spatial impairment, like visuospatial attention and optic flow perception [18] and translation between allocentric and egocentric frames of reference [19], supported by the posterior parietal and retrosplenial brain areas. "
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    ABSTRACT: Perspective taking is the ability to imagine what a scene looks like from a different viewpoint, which has been reported to be impaired in Alzheimer's disease (AD). This study compared overhead and first-person view perspective taking abilities in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD. A newly developed Arena Perspective Taking Task (APTT), using an environment of a circular arena, was used to compare 23 AD patients and 38 amnestic MCI patients with 18 healthy controls. The results were contrasted with a published perspective taking test (Standardized Road-Map Test of Direction Sense, RMTDS). The AD group was impaired in both overhead and first-person view APTT versions, but the impairment in the overhead view version applied specifically to women. Patients with aMCI were impaired in the first-person view but not in the overhead view version. Substantial sexual differences were found in the overhead but not in the first-person view APTT version. The RMTDS resembled both APTT versions: patients with aMCI were impaired in this test and also women in both patient groups were less accurate than men. Using the receiver operating characteristic analysis, the highest predictive power for MCI and AD patients diagnosis versus controls was observed for their success rate in the first-person view version. The results suggest distinction between overhead and first-person view perspective taking in the impairment of aMCI patients and the sex differences. The first-person view perspective taking is a potentially important candidate psychological marker for AD. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Behavioural Brain Research 12/2014; 281. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.12.033 · 3.03 Impact Factor
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