Jessica Damoiseaux, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology, recently published the results of a three-year study of cognitive changes in older adults. The team followed 69 women, mostly African Americans, between the ages of 50 and 85, who complained that their cognitive ability worsened although clinical assessments showed no impairment. Three magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans at 18-month intervals showed significant changes in functional connectivity to two areas of the brain.
“An older adult is perceived cognitive decline “The brain alterations that underlie the experience of decline may reflect the progression of incipient dementia and may arise before cognitive assessment is sensitive enough to detect a deficit,” Damoiseaux said.
The resulting document, “Longitudinal change in the anterior hippocampal and dorsal islets functional connectivity “in subjective cognitive decline,” appeared in the May 31 issue of Alzheimer’s research and therapy. Damoiseaux conducted the study with PhD student Raymond Viviano, first doctor.
Subjective cognitive decline, defined as a perceived worsening of cognitive ability not observed in clinical assessment, may be an early indicator of dementia. Previous cross-sectional research has demonstrated aberrant brain functional connectivity in a subjective cognitive decline, but longitudinal assessment has been limited.
The three-year Viviano and Damoiseaux study found that people reported the most subjective cognitive decline showed a greater decrease in connectivity between default mode network components and a greater increase in connectivity between highlighted and default mode network components. Functional connectivity changed in the absence of a change in cognitive performance.
Since these brain changes occurred without concomitant cognitive changes, they could indicate that brain changes are the basis of the perception of decline. These changes can be a sensitive marker for nascent dementia months or years before assessments detect any cognitive deficits.
Raymond P. Viviano et al, Longitudinal change in the functional connectivity of the anterior hippocampal and dorsal islets in subjective cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s research and therapy (2021). DOI: 10.1186 / s13195-021-00847-y
Wayne State University
Citation: Self-reported cognitive impairments may be related to changes in brain connectivity (2021, June 22) retrieved June 23, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-self-reported-declines -cognition-linked- brain.html
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