Article

The nature of episodic memory deficits in MCI with and without vascular burden

Research Center, Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
Neuropsychologia (Impact Factor: 3.3). 09/2011; 49(11):3027-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.07.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

This study measured episodic memory deficits in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as a function of their vascular burden. Vascular burden was determined clinically by computing the number of vascular risk factors and diseases and neuroradiologically by assessing the presence and severity of white matter lesions (WML). Strategic memory processes were measured with free recall and temporal contextual memory tasks requiring self-initiated retrieval. Nonstrategic memory retrieval processes were appraised with a five-choice recognition procedure. Results showed that MCI participants with high vascular burden displayed impairment of strategic memory processes, whereas MCI participants with no vascular burden showed impairment of both strategic and nonstrategic memory processes. A similar pattern was found whether vascular burden was measured using a clinical index of vascular risk profile or whether it was measured neuroradiologically by assessing the extent and severity of subcortical WML. However, the effect of WML on memory differed as function of level of education, used here as a proxy for cognitive reserve. Among participants with MCI, those who had higher education and no WML were the least memory impaired. The study also examined memory as a function of whether patients later progressed to dementia after a three-year follow-up. When examining progressors' performance, strategic and nonstrategic processes were both impaired in progressors with no concomitant vascular conditions, whereas progressors with a high vascular burden showed less impairment of nonstrategic than strategic processes. Overall, results indicate that the presence of vascular burden in MCI is associated with selective impairment of strategic memory processes.

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Available from: Sylvia Villeneuve, Mar 08, 2014
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    • "The consequence of this condition on the brain parenchyma is damage to the white matter and subcortical gray matter structures, visible on MRI as white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and lacunar infarcts (Pantoni, 2010). In MCI patients, CSVD has been associated with cognitive deficits including reduced mental speed, impaired executive functioning, and deficits in working and episodic memory (Galluzzi et al., 2005; Nordahl et al., 2005; Nordlund et al., 2007; Luchsinger et al., 2009; Villeneuve et al., 2011). Whereas Alzheimer pathology is known to cause cognitive deficits by affecting cortical brain regions, the mechanisms through which CSVD contributes to cognitive impairment are still a matter of debate. "
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    • "The consequence of this condition on the brain parenchyma is damage to the white matter and subcortical gray matter structures, visible on MRI as white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and lacunar infarcts (Pantoni, 2010). In MCI patients, CSVD has been associated with cognitive deficits including reduced mental speed, impaired executive functioning, and deficits in working and episodic memory (Galluzzi et al., 2005; Nordahl et al., 2005; Nordlund et al., 2007; Luchsinger et al., 2009; Villeneuve et al., 2011). Whereas Alzheimer pathology is known to cause cognitive deficits by affecting cortical brain regions, the mechanisms through which CSVD contributes to cognitive impairment are still a matter of debate. "
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    • "Those brain changes are prevalent in MCI (Apostolova et al., 2006; Bombois et al., 2008; Calvini et al., 2009; Jack et al., 1999) and have been associated with different memory deficit patterns (Nordahl et al., 2005; Nordlund et al., 2007; Villeneuve et al., 2011). Therefore, they may cause different memory changes in MCI and contribute to cognitive heterogeneity . "
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