Diffusion Tensor Imaging detects age-related white matter change over a two-year follow-up which is associated with working memory decline

Clinical Neuroscience, St George's University of London, London, UK.
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.81). 09/2009; 81(1):13-9. DOI: 10.1136/jnnp.2008.167288
Source: PubMed


Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a sensitive method for detecting white matter damage, and in cross sectional studies DTI measures correlate with age related cognitive decline. However, there are few data on whether DTI can detect age related changes over short time periods and whether such change correlates with cognitive function.
In a community sample of 84 middle-aged and elderly adults, MRI and cognitive testing were performed at baseline and after 2 years. Changes in DTI white matter histograms, white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume and brain volume were determined. Change over time in performance on tests of executive function, working memory and information processing speed were also assessed.
Significant change in all MRI measures was detected. For cognition, change was detected for working memory and this correlated with change in DTI only. In a stepwise regression, with change in working memory as the dependent variable, a DTI histogram measure explained 10.8% of the variance in working memory. Change in WMH or brain volume did not contribute to the model.
DTI is sensitive to age related change in white matter ultrastructure and appears useful for monitoring age related white matter change even over short time periods.

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    • ". A few longitudinal studies showed that DTI is sensitive to change over a short period of time and correlated with change in cognitive test scores, while this is not the case for conventional MRI markers [26] [31] [32]. However , more longitudinal studies are needed to replicate these results with serial DTI analysis to establish the predictive value of DTI parameters in cognitive decline additional to conventional MRI parameters. "
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