[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Older adults with intact cognition before death and substantial Alzheimer disease (AD) lesions at autopsy have been termed "asymptomatic AD subjects" (ASYMAD). We previously reported hypertrophy of neuronal cell bodies, nuclei, and nucleoli in the CA1 of the hippocampus (CA1), anterior cingulate gyrus, posterior cingulate gyrus, and primary visual cortex of ASYMAD versus age-matched Control and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) subjects. However, it was unclear whether the neuronal hypertrophy could be attributed to differences in the severity of AD pathology. Here, we performed quantitative analyses of the severity of β-amyloid (Aβ) and phosphorylated tau (tau) loads in the brains of ASYMAD, Control, MCI, and AD subjects (n = 15 per group) from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Tissue sections from CA1, anterior cingulate gyrus, posterior cingulate gyrus, and primary visual cortex were immunostained for Aβ and tau; the respective loads were assessed using unbiased stereology by measuring the fractional areas of immunoreactivity for each protein in each region. The ASYMAD and MCI groups did not differ in Aβ and tau loads. These data confirm that ASYMAD and MCI subjects have comparable loads of insoluble Aβ and tau in regions vulnerable to AD pathology despite divergent cognitive outcomes. These findings imply that cognitive impairment in AD may be caused or modulated by factors other than insoluble forms of Aβ and tau.
Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology. 03/2014;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hearing impairment in older adults is independently associated in longitudinal studies with accelerated cognitive decline and incident dementia, and in cross-sectional studies, with reduced volumes in the auditory cortex. Whether peripheral hearing impairment is associated with accelerated rates of brain atrophy is unclear. We analyzed brain volume measurements from magnetic resonance brain scans of individuals with normal hearing versus hearing impairment (speech-frequency pure tone average>25dB) followed in the neuroimaging substudy of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging for a mean of 6.4years after the baseline scan (n=126, age 56-86years). Brain volume measurements were performed with semi-automated region-of-interest (ROI) algorithms, and brain volume trajectories were analyzed with mixed-effects regression models adjusted for demographic and cardiovascular factors. We found that individuals with hearing impairment (n=51) compared to those with normal hearing (n=75) had accelerated volume declines in whole brain and regional volumes in the right temporal lobe (superior, middle, and inferior temporal gyri, parahippocampus, p<.05). These results were robust to adjustment for multiple confounders and were consistent with voxel-based analyses, which also implicated right greater than left temporal regions. These findings demonstrate that peripheral hearing impairment is independently associated with accelerated brain atrophy in whole brain and regional volumes concentrated in the right temporal lobe. Further studies investigating the mechanistic basis of the observed associations are needed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To develop targeted intervention strategies for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, we first need to identify early markers of brain changes that occur before the onset of cognitive impairment. Here, we examine changes in resting-state brain function in humans from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. We compared longitudinal changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), assessed by (15)O-water PET, over a mean 7 year period between participants who eventually developed cognitive impairment (n = 22) and those who remained cognitively normal (n = 99). Annual PET assessments began an average of 11 years before the onset of cognitive impairment in the subsequently impaired group, so all participants were cognitively normal during the scanning interval. A voxel-based mixed model analysis was used to compare groups with and without subsequent impairment. Participants with subsequent impairment showed significantly greater longitudinal rCBF increases in orbitofrontal, medial frontal, and anterior cingulate regions, and greater longitudinal decreases in parietal, temporal, and thalamic regions compared with those who maintained cognitive health. These changes were linear in nature and were not influenced by longitudinal changes in regional tissue volume. Although all participants were cognitively normal during the scanning interval, most of the accelerated rCBF changes seen in the subsequently impaired group occurred within regions thought to be critical for the maintenance of cognitive function. These changes also occurred within regions that show early accumulation of pathology in Alzheimer's disease, suggesting that there may be a connection between early pathologic change and early changes in brain function.
Journal of Neuroscience 11/2013; 33(46):18008-14. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Older adults commonly report disturbed sleep, and recent studies in humans and animals suggest links between sleep and Alzheimer disease biomarkers. Studies are needed that evaluate whether sleep variables are associated with neuroimaging evidence of β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition. OBJECTIVE To determine the association between self-reported sleep variables and Aβ deposition in community-dwelling older adults. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Cross-sectional study of 70 adults (mean age, 76 [range, 53-91] years) from the neuroimaging substudy of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, a normative aging study. EXPOSURE Self-reported sleep variables. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES β-Amyloid burden, measured by carbon 11-labeled Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography distribution volume ratios (DVRs). RESULTS After adjustment for potential confounders, reports of shorter sleep duration were associated with greater Aβ burden, measured by mean cortical DVR (B = 0.08 [95% CI, 0.03-0.14]; P = .005) and precuneus DVR (B = 0.11 [0.03-0.18]; P = .007). Reports of lower sleep quality were associated with greater Aβ burden measured by precuneus DVR (B = 0.08 [0.01-0.15]; P = .03). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Among community-dwelling older adults, reports of shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality are associated with greater Aβ burden. Additional studies with objective sleep measures are needed to determine whether sleep disturbance causes or accelerates Alzheimer disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the recent identification of several novel risk genes for Alzheimer's disease (AD), little is known about their influence on the age at onset (AAO) of AD. The AAO is a phenotype with a heritable component distinct from disease risk and may be a useful trait to study in the context of developing interventions for delaying the onset of AD. We studied the influence of 10 recently identified AD risk genes and APOE in relation to AAO in a large cohort of AD patients (N = 2569). We find that the novel AD risk gene, PICALM, exerts a small effect on the AAO of AD with earlier disease onset in risk allele carriers. In addition, we confirmed the previously reported association between the APOE ε4 allele and earlier disease onset. None of the other AD risk genes influenced AAO of AD. Our results suggest that besides APOE, other genes associated with AD risk do not exert large effects on the AAO phenotype of AD.
Neurobiology of aging 07/2013; · 5.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Long-term longitudinal studies are needed to delineate the trajectory of depressive symptoms across adulthood and to individuate factors that may contribute to increases in depressive symptoms in older adulthood. OBJECTIVES To estimate the trajectory of depressive symptoms across the adult life span; to test whether this trajectory varies by demographic factors (sex, ethnicity, and educational level) and antidepressant medication use; and to test whether disease burden, functional limitations, and proximity to death explain the increase in depressive symptoms in old age. DESIGN Longitudinal study. SETTING Community. PARTICIPANTS The study included 2320 participants (47.0% female; mean [SD] age at baseline, 58.1 [17.0] years; range, 19-95 years) from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Estimated trajectory of depressive symptoms modeled from 10 982 assessments (mean [SD] assessments per participant, 4.7 [3.6]; range, 1-21) based on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale and 3 subscales (depressed affect, somatic complaints, and interpersonal problems). RESULTS The linear (γ10 = 0.52; P < .01) and quadratic (γ20 = 0.43; P < .01) terms were significant, which indicated that depressive symptoms were highest in young adulthood, decreased across middle adulthood, and increased again in older adulthood. The subscales followed a similar pattern. Women reported more depressed affect at younger ages, but an interaction with age suggested that this gap disappeared in old age. Accounting for comorbidity, functional limitations, and impending death slightly reduced but did not eliminate the uptick in depressive symptoms in old age. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Symptoms of depression follow a U-shaped pattern across adulthood. Older adults experience an increase in distress that is not due solely to declines in physical health or approaching death.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: We examine whether broad factors and specific facets of personality are associated with increased risk of incident Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a long-run longitudinal study and a meta-analysis of published studies. METHODS: Participants (n = 1671) were monitored for up to 22 years from a baseline personality assessment. The meta-analysis pooled results from up to five prospective studies (n = 5054). RESULTS: Individuals with scores in the top quartile of neuroticism (hazard ratio = 3.1; 95% confidence interval = 1.6-6.0) or the lowest quartile of conscientiousness (hazard ratio = 3.3; 95% confidence interval = 1.4-7.4) had a threefold increased risk of incident AD. Among the components of these traits, self-discipline and depression had the strongest associations with incident AD. The meta-analysis confirmed the associations of neuroticism (P = 2 × 10(-9)) and conscientiousness (P = 2 × 10(-6)), along with weaker effects for openness and agreeableness (P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: The current study and meta-analysis indicate that personality traits are associated with increased risk of AD, with effect sizes similar to those of well-established clinical and lifestyle risk factors.
Alzheimer's & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer's Association 05/2013; · 14.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated whether individuals with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) in midlife subsequently show regionally specific longitudinal changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) relative to those with normal glucose tolerance (NGT). Sixty-four cognitively normal participants in the neuroimaging substudy of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging underwent serial (15)O-water positron emission tomography scans (age at first scan, 69.6 ± 7.5 years) and oral glucose tolerance tests 12 years earlier (age at first oral glucose tolerance test, 57.2 ± 11.1 years). Using voxel-based analysis, we compared changes in rCBF over an 8-year period between 15 participants with IGT in midlife and 49 with NGT. Significant differences were observed in longitudinal change in rCBF between the IGT and NGT groups. The predominant pattern was greater rCBF decline in the IGT group in the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices. Some brain regions in the frontal and temporal cortices also showed greater longitudinal increments in rCBF in the IGT group. Our findings suggest that IGT in midlife is associated with subsequent longitudinal changes in brain function during aging even in cognitively normal older individuals.
Neurobiology of aging 04/2013; · 5.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To confirm associations of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) ε4 carrier status, sex, and time-dependent cognitive status with mortality risk and to investigate these joint effects of these associations in a cohort of community-dwelling U.S. adults.
Prospective cohort study.
The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA).
Of 3,047 BLSA participants aged 17 to 98 at first visit (60.1% male), 1,704 with complete ApoE genotype data were included, of whom 1,461 aged 50 and older with one or more visits were eligible.
Time to death from all, cardiovascular, and noncardiovascular causes.
Probability of survival was lower for ApoE ε4 carriers, particularly those who were older. A Cox proportional hazards model for all-cause mortality yielded a hazard ratio (HR) for ApoE ε4 carrier versus noncarriers of 1.31 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.02-1.68). This association was also found for cardiovascular mortality. Time-dependent all-cause dementia (HR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.33-2.26) and mild cognitive impairment (HR = 1.95, 95% CI = 1.42-2.67) increased all-cause mortality risk, associations that were also detected for noncardiovascular mortality. When individuals were free of cognitive impairment, a dose-response relationship with ε4 alleles was found for all-cause mortality (HR = 1.40, 95% CI = 0.94-2.07 for 1 ε4; HR = 2.61, 95% CI = 1.12-6.07 for 2 ε4). After onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD), carrying only one ε4 allele resulted in an approximately 77% greater all-cause mortality risk than in noncarriers. ApoE ε4 carrier status increased all-cause mortality risk in men and interacted with time-dependent AD to increase the risk of this outcome (relative excess risk due to interaction = 2.15, 95% CI = 1.22-3.07).
ApoE ε4 carrier status was found to increase all-cause and cardiovascular mortality risks and interacted with sex and time-dependent AD status to affect all-cause mortality.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 04/2013; 61(4):525-34. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present research, we examined the effects of age, cohort, and time of measurement on well-being across adulthood. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of two independent samples-one with more than 10,000 repeated assessments across 30 years (mean assessments per participant = 4.44, SD = 3.47) and one with nationally representative data-suggested that well-being declines with age. This decline, however, reversed when we controlled for birth cohort. That is, once we accounted for the fact that older cohorts had lower levels of well-being, all cohorts increased in well-being with age relative to their own baseline. Participants tested more recently had higher well-being, but time of measurement, unlike cohort, did not change the shape of the trajectory. Although well-being increased with age for everyone, cohorts that lived through the economic challenges of the early 20th century had lower well-being than those born during more prosperous times.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Longitudinal studies on aging brain function have shown declines in frontal activity as opposed to the over-recruitment shown in cross-sectional studies. Such mixed findings suggest that age-related changes in frontal activity may be process- and region-specific, having varied associations across different frontal regions involved in distinct cognitive processes, rather than generalized across the frontal cortex. Using data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), we examined individual differences through cross-sectional associations at baseline evaluation and longitudinal changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in relation to different executive abilities in cognitively normal older adults. We found that, at baseline, greater rCBF in middle frontal regions correlated with better performance in abstraction and chunking, but greater rCBF in the insula and a distinct middle frontal region correlated with poorer inhibition and discrimination, respectively. In addition, increases in frontal rCBF over time were associated with longitudinal declines in abstraction, chunking, inhibition, discrimination, switching, and manipulation. These findings indicate process- and region-specific, rather than uniform, age-related changes in frontal brain-behavior associations, and also suggest that longitudinally high-levels of frontal engagement reflect declining rather than stable cognition.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathology is found at autopsy in approximately 30% of cognitively normal older individuals. We examined whether personality traits are associated with such resilience to clinical dementia in individuals with AD neuropathology. Broad factors and specific facets of personality were assessed up to 28 years (mean 11 ± 7 years) before onset of dementia and up to 30 years (mean 15 ± 7 years) before death in a cohort (n = 111) evaluated for AD neuropathology at autopsy. Individuals with higher baseline scores on vulnerability to stress, anxiety, and depression (neuroticism: odds ratio, 2.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-3.5), or lower scores on order and competence (conscientiousness: odds ratio, 0.4; 95% confidence interval, 0.2-0.9) were less likely to remain asymptomatic in the presence of AD neuropathology. Neuroticism (r = 0.26), low agreeableness (r = -0.34), and some facets were also significantly associated with advanced stages of neurofibrillary tangles, but the associations between personality traits and risk of clinical dementia were mostly unchanged by controlling for the extent of neurofibrillary tangles and Aβ neuritic plaques. In sum, a resilient personality profile is associated with lower risk or delay of clinical dementia even in persons with AD neuropathology.
Neurobiology of aging 10/2012; · 5.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The rs3818361 single nucleotide polymorphism in complement component (3b/4b) receptor-1 (CR1) is associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although this novel variant is associated with a small effect size and is unlikely to be useful as a predictor of AD risk, it might provide insights into AD pathogenesis. We examined the association between rs3818361 and brain amyloid deposition in nondemented older individuals. METHODS: We used (11)C-Pittsburgh Compound-B positron emission tomography to quantify brain amyloid burden in 57 nondemented older individuals (mean age 78.5 years) in the neuroimaging substudy of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. In a replication study, we analyzed (11)C-Pittsburgh Compound-B positron emission tomography data from 22 cognitively normal older individuals (mean age 77.1 years) in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative dataset. RESULTS: Risk allele carriers of rs3818361 have lower brain amyloid burden relative to noncarriers. There is a strikingly greater variability in brain amyloid deposition in the noncarrier group relative to risk carriers, an effect explained partly by APOE genotype. In noncarriers of the CR1 risk allele, APOE ε4 individuals showed significantly higher brain amyloid burden relative to APOE ε4 noncarriers. We also independently replicate our observation of lower brain amyloid burden in risk allele carriers of rs3818361 in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative sample. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest complex mechanisms underlying the interaction of CR1, APOE, and brain amyloid pathways in AD. Our results are relevant to treatments targeting brain Aβ in nondemented individuals at risk for AD and suggest that clinical outcomes of such treatments might be influenced by complex gene-gene interactions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although obesity has been linked to structural brain changes, little is known about its associations with the rates of brain atrophy. We examined associations between global (BMI) and central (waist circumference) midlife obesity and subsequent trajectories of regional brain atrophy in 152 individuals [M (age) = 69 ± 7.8] prospectively followed through the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging; 21 individuals became impaired during follow-up. We report no associations (P > 0.05) between either global or central midlife obesity and subsequent rates of regional brain volume changes against a background of age-related atrophy in older individuals who remained nondemented. When looking at the entire sample, greater decline was observed in the volume of gray matter, precuneus, cingulate and orbito-frontal gyri for globally obese (P < 0.03), even though only data up to the point of dementia diagnosis were included in the analyses (i.e., while still considered clinically normal). Moreover, when trajectories of regional volume changes were examined across the range of BMI and waist circumference values instead of employing a cut-off point to define obesity, a different pattern of results emerged. Overall, our results suggest that midlife obesity may be an important modifier of brain atrophy in individuals who are developing cognitive impairment and dementia, while it has little effect on structural brain integrity in nondemented older adults. Moreover, the discrepancies in findings between studies may be in part due to participant sampling and methodological differences.
Human Brain Mapping 09/2012; 33(9):2204-10. · 6.88 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: We examined the effect of the novel Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk variant rs11136000 single nucleotide polymorphism in the clusterin gene (CLU) on longitudinal changes in resting state regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during normal aging and investigated its influence on cognitive decline in presymptomatic stages of disease progression. METHODS: Subjects were participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. A subset of 88 cognitively normal older individuals had longitudinal (15)O-water positron emission tomography measurements of rCBF at baseline and up to eight annual follow-up visits. We also analyzed trajectories of cognitive decline among CLU risk carriers and noncarriers in individuals who remained cognitively normal (n = 599), as well as in those who subsequently converted to mild cognitive impairment or AD (n = 95). RESULTS: Cognitively normal carriers of the CLU risk allele showed significant and dose-dependent longitudinal increases in resting state rCBF in brain regions intrinsic to memory processes. There were no differences in trajectories of memory performance between CLU risk carriers and noncarriers who remained cognitively normal. However, in cognitively normal individuals who eventually converted to mild cognitive impairment or AD, CLU risk carriers showed faster rates of decline in memory performance relative to noncarriers in the presymptomatic stages of disease progression. CONCLUSIONS: The AD risk variant CLU influences longitudinal changes in brain function in asymptomatic individuals and is associated with faster cognitive decline in presymptomatic stages of disease progression. These results suggest mechanisms underlying the role of CLU in AD and may be important in monitoring disease progression in at-risk elderly.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current study examined whether year-to-year variability in cognitive performance differ between individuals cognitively unimpaired and individuals who subsequently develop dementia.
Analyses included a case-control sample of Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA; mean [M] age = 69.90, standard deviation [SD] = 8.92) participants. One hundred and 35 clinically diagnosed demented participants were matched with 135 nondemented participants based on age at initial testing and sex. Cognitive performance was examined using measures of memory, executive function, attention, language, and global mental status performance. Cognitive performance was examined from baseline to 5 years before cognitive impairment (M, assessments = 3.03, SD = 2.80).
As compared with unimpaired individuals, individuals diagnosed with dementia had greater variability on measures of attention, executive function, language, and semantic memory at least 5 years before the estimated onset of cognitive impairment, which may be indicative of maladaptive cognitive functioning. The dementia cases, however, had less variability on visual memory than the unimpaired group, which may suggest that these cases had more difficulty learning.
These results demonstrate that performance variability indexed over annual or biennial visits may be useful in identifying early signs of subsequent cognitive impairment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anemia has been associated with elevated cerebral blood flow (CBF) in animal models and certain clinical conditions (eg, renal disease), but whether hemoglobin level variations across a relatively normal range are associated with local or diffuse CBF changes is unclear. We investigated whether lower hemoglobin is associated with regional increases in relative CBF in older individuals, and if these increases occur in watershed regions.
Seventy-four older nondemented adults underwent serial (15)O water positron emission tomography scans. Voxel-based analysis was used to investigate regional relative CBF patterns in association with hemoglobin level and in individuals with and without anemia. Analyses of cross-sectional relations between regional CBF and anemia were performed separately at two time points, 2 years apart, to identify replicable patterns of associations.
Restricting results to associations replicated across two cross-sectional analyses, lower hemoglobin was associated with higher relative CBF within the middle/inferior frontal, occipital, precuneus, and cerebellar regions. In addition, individuals with anemia (n = 15) showed higher relative CBF in superior frontal, middle temporal, hippocampal, and gyrus rectus regions than those without anemia. In some regions (right superior temporal gyrus, left inferior frontal gyrus, midline cuneus, and right precuneus); however, lower hemoglobin was associated with lower relative CBF.
In nondemented individuals, lower hemoglobin is associated with elevated relative CBF in specific cortical areas but reduced CBF in other areas. Whether this association between anemia and CBF in the absence of chronic diseases and in a normal physiologic range is related to clinical endpoints warrants further study.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 05/2012; 67(9):963-9. · 4.31 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Latent difference score models (e.g., McArdle & Hamagami, 2001) are extended to include effects from prior changes to subsequent changes. This extension of latent difference scores allows for testing hypotheses where recent changes, as opposed to recent levels, are a primary predictor of subsequent changes. These models are applied to bivariate longitudinal data collected as part of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging on memory performance, measured by the California Verbal Learning Test, and lateral ventricle size, measured by structural MRIs. Results indicate that recent increases in the lateral ventricle size were a leading indicator of subsequent declines in memory performance from age 60 to 90.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) seems to be involved in regulation of synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis. BDNF plasma and serum levels have been associated with depression, Alzheimer's disease, and other psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. In a community sample, drawn from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), we examined whether BDNF plasma concentration was associated with rates of age-related change in cognitive performance (n = 429) and regional brain volume (n = 59). Plasma BDNF levels, which were significantly higher in females (p<0.05), were not associated with either concurrent cognitive performance or rates of age-related change in performance across cognitive domains (p's>0.05). Sex differences in the relationship between BDNF and the trajectories of regional brain volume changes were observed for the whole brain and frontal white matter volumes (p<0.05), whereby lower plasma BDNF was associated with steeper volume decline in females but not males. Together, our findings contribute to furthering the understanding of the relationships between plasma BDNF, structural brain integrity and cognition. Potential mechanisms mediating these relationships merit further investigation.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e35217. · 3.73 Impact Factor