Event-Related Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Changes during Relational Retrieval in Normal Aging and Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment
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).
Available from: Jeffrey Browndyke
- "Therefore, both healthy older adult participants and aMCI participants appear to recruit a similar episodic network to support successful encoding and, furthermore, recruit this network more as the need to generate contextual associations increases. In line with this idea, prior research has shown similar regions are activated during encoding of unrelated items for young, older, and aMCI participants (Addis & McAndrews, 2006;Giovanello et al., 2012;Leshikar et al., 2010). "
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ABSTRACT: Relational memory declines are well documented as an early marker for amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). Episodic memory formation relies on relational processing supported by two mnemonic mechanisms, generation and binding. Neuroimaging studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have primarily focused on binding deficits which are thought to be mediated by medial temporal lobe dysfunction. In this study, prefrontal contributions to relational encoding were also investigated using fMRI by parametrically manipulating generation demands during the encoding of word triads. Participants diagnosed with aMCI and healthy control subjects encoded word triads consisting of a category word with either, zero, one, or two semantically related exemplars. As the need to generate increased (i.e., two- to one- to zero-link triads), both groups recruited a core set of regions associated with the encoding of word triads including the parahippocampal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, and superior parietal lobule. Participants diagnosed with aMCI also parametrically recruited several frontal regions including the inferior frontal gyrus and middle frontal gyrus as the need to generate increased, whereas the control participants did not show this modulation. While there is some functional overlap in regions recruited by generation demands between the groups, the recruitment of frontal regions in the aMCI participants coincides with worse memory performance, likely representing a form of neural inefficiency associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Available from: Souheil Inati
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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.
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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.
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