Skip to main content Accessibility help

Functional magnetic resonance imaging changes in amnestic and nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment during encoding and recognition tasks



Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows changes in multiple regions in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). The concept of MCI recently evolved to include nonamnestic syndromes, so little is known about fMRI changes in these individuals. This study investigated activation during visual complex scene encoding and recognition in 29 cognitively normal (CN) elderly, 19 individuals with aMCI, and 12 individuals with nonamnestic MCI (naMCI). During encoding, CN activated an extensive network that included bilateral occipital–parietal–temporal cortex; precuneus; posterior cingulate; thalamus; insula; and medial, anterior, and lateral frontal regions. Amnestic MCI activated an anatomic subset of these regions. Non-amnestic MCI activated an even smaller anatomic subset. During recognition, CN activated the same regions observed during encoding except the precuneus. Both MCI groups again activated a subset of the regions activated by CN. During encoding, CN had greater activation than aMCI and naMCI in bilateral temporoparietal and frontal regions. During recognition, CN had greater activation than aMCI in predominantly temporoparietal regions bilaterally, while CN had greater activation than naMCI in larger areas involving bilateral temporoparietal and frontal regions. The diminished parietal and frontal activation in naMCI may reflect compromised ability to perform nonmemory (i.e., attention/executive, visuospatial function) components of the task. (JINS, 2009, 15, 372–382.)


Corresponding author

*Correspondence and reprint requests to: Mary M. Machulda, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo Clinic, 200 1st Street SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55905. E-mail:


Hide All
Boeve, B., Ferman, T., Smith, G., Knopman, D., Jicha, G., Geda, Y., Silber, M., Edland, S., Parisi, J., Dickson, D., Ivnik, R., & Petersen, R. (2004). Mild cognitive impairment preceding dementia with Lewy bodies. Neurology, 62(Suppl 5), A86.
Cabeza, R. (2001). Cognitive neuroscience of aging: Contributions of functional neuroimaging. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 42, 277286.
Celone, K., Calhoun, V., Dickerson, B., Atri, A., Chua, E., Miller, S., DePeau, K., Rentz, D., Selkoe, D., Blacker, D., Albert, M., & Sperling, R. (2006). Alterations in memory networks in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease: An independent component analysis. The Journal of Neuroscience, 26(40), 1022210231.
Dickerson, B., Salat, D., Bates, J., Atiya, M., Killiany, R., Greve, D., Dale, A., Stern, C., Blacker, D., Albert, M., & Sperling, R. (2004). Medial temporal lobe function and structure in mild cognitive impairment. Annals of Neurology, 56, 2735.
Dickerson, B., Salat, D., Greve, D., Chua, E., Rand-Giovanetti, E., Rentz, D., Bertram, L., Mullin, K., Tanzi, R., Blacker, D., Albert, M., & Sperling, R. (2005). Increased hippocampal activation in mild cognitive impairment compared to normal aging and AD. Neurology, 65, 404411.
Fletcher, P. & Henson, R. (2001). Frontal lobes and human memory: Insights from functional neuroimaging. Brain, 124, 849881.
Friston, K., Holmes, A., Worsley, K., Poline, J., Frith, C., & Frackowiak, R. (1995). Statistical parametric maps in functional imaging: A general linear approach. Human Brain Mapping, 2, 189210.
Goekoop, R., Rombouts, S., Jonker, C., Hibbel, A., Knol, D., Truyen, L., Barkhof, F., & Scheltens, P. (2004). Challenging the cholinergic system in mild cognitive impairment: A pharmacological fMRI study. NeuroImage, 23, 14501459.
Gutchess, A., Welsh, R., Hedden, T., Bangert, A., Minear, M., Liu, L., & Park, D. (2005). Aging and the neural correlates of successful picture encoding: Frontal activations compensate for decreased medial-temporal activity. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17(1), 8496.
Heun, R., Freymann, K., Erb, M., Leube, D., Jessen, F., Kircher, T., & Grodd, W. (2007). Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and actual retrieval performance affect cerebral activation in the elderly. Neurobiology of Aging, 28(3), 404413.
Ivnik, R., Malec, J., Smith, G., Tangalos, E., & Petersen, R. (1996). Neuropsychological tests’ norms above age 55: COWAT, BNT, MAE Token, WRAT-R reading, AMNART, Stroop, TMT, and JLO. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 10, 262278.
Ivnik, R., Malec, J., Smith, G., Tangalos, E., Petersen, R., Kokmen, E., & Kurland, L. (1992). Mayo’s Older Americans Normative Studies: WAIS-R, WMS-R and AVLT norms for ages 56 through 97. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 6(Suppl), 1104.
Johnson, S., Baxter, L., Sussking-Wilder, L., Connor, D., Sabbagh, M., & Caselli, R. (2004). Hippocampal adaptation to face repetition in healthy elderly and mild cognitive impairment. Neuropsychologia, 42, 980989.
Johnson, S., Schmitz, T., Asthana, S., Gluck, M., & Myers, C. (2008). Associative learning over trial activates the hippocampus in healthy elderly but not mild cognitive impairment. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 15, 129145.
Johnson, S., Schmitz, T., Moritz, C., Meyerand, M., Rowley, H., Alexander, A., Hansen, K., Gleason, C., Carlsson, C., Ries, M., Asthana, S., Chen, K., Reiman, E., & Alexander, G. (2006). Activation of brain regions vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease: The effect of mild cognitive impairment. Neurobiology of Aging, 27, 16041612.
Kaplan, E., Goodglass, H., & Weintraub, S. (1983). Boston Naming Test. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger.
Kokmen, E., Smith, G., Petersen, R., Tangalos, E., & Ivnik, R. (1991). The Short Test of Mental Status. Archives of Neurology, 48, 725728.
Lucas, J.A., Ivnik, R.J., Smith, G.E., Bohac, D.L., Tangalos, E.G., Graff-Radford, N.R., & Petersen, R.C. (1998). Mayo’s Older Americans Normative Studies: Category fluency norms. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 20, 17.
Machielsen, W., Rombouts, S., Barkhof, F., Scheltens, P., & Witter, M. (2000). fMRI of visual encoding: Reproducibility of activation. Human Brain Mapping, 9, 156164.
Machulda, M., Ward, H., Borowski, B., Gunter, J., Cha, R., O’Brien, P., Petersen, R., Boeve, B., Knopman, D., Tang-Wai, D., Ivnik, R., Smith, G., Tangalos, E., & Jack, C. (2003). Comparison of memory fMRI response among normal, MCI, and Alzheimer patients. Neurology, 61, 500506.
Machulda, M., Ward, H., Cha, R., O’Brien, P., & Jack, C. Jr. (2001). Functional inferences vary with the method of analysis in fMRI. NeuroImage, 14, 11221127.
Morris, J. (1993). The Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR): Current version and scoring rules. Neurology, 43, 24122414.
Petersen, R. (2004). Mild cognitive impairment as a diagnostic entity. Journal of Internal Medicine, 256, 183194.
Petersen, R., Doody, R., Kurz, A., Mohs, R., Morris, J., Rabins, P., Ritchie, K., Rossor, M., Thal, L., & Winblad, B. (2001). Current concepts in mild cognitive impairment. Archives of Neurology, 58, 19851992.
Petersen, R., Ivnik, R., Boeve, B., Knopman, D., Smith, G., & Tangalos, E. (2004). Outcome of clinical subtypes of mild cognitive impairment. Neurology, 62(Suppl 5), A295.
Petersen, R., Kokmen, E., Tangalos, E., Ivnik, R.K., & Kurland, L.T. (1990). Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Registry. Aging Clinical & Experimental Research, 2(4), 408415.
Petersen, R., Smith, G., Waring, S., Ivnik, R., Tangalos, E., & Kokmen, E. (1999). Mild cognitive impairment clinical characterization and outcome. Archives of Neurology, 56, 303308.
Petrella, J., Krishnan, S., Slavin, M., Tran, T.-T.T., Murty, L., & Doraiswamy, P. (2006). Mild cognitive impairment: Evaluation with 4-T functional MR imaging. Radiology, 240(1), 177186.
Rey, A. (1964). L’examen Clinique en Psychologie. (The clinical examination in psychology). Paris, France: Presses Universitaires de France.
Rombouts, S., Scheltens, P., Machielsen, W., Barkhof, F., Hoogenraad, F., Veltman, D., Valk, J., & Witter, M. (1999). Parametric fMRI analysis of visual encoding in the human medial temporal lobe. Hippocampus, 9, 637643.
Saykin, A., Wishart, H., Rabin, L., Flashman, L., McHugh, T.L., Mamourian, A., & Santulli, R. (2004). Cholinergic enhancement of frontal lobe activity in mild cognitive impairment. Brain, 127, 15741583.
Senjem, M., Gunter, J., Shiung, M., Petersen, R., & Jack, C.J. (2005). Comparison of different methodological implementations of voxel-based morphometry in neurodegenerative disease. NeuroImage, 26, 600608.
Spreen, O. & Strauss, E. (1991). A compendium of neuropsychological tests: Administration, norms, and commentary. New York: Oxford University Press.
Wagner, A., Shannon, B., Kahn, I., & Buckner, R. (2005). Parietal lobe contributions to episodic memory retrieval. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(9), 445453.
Wechsler, D. (1981). Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—Revised. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.
Wechsler, D. (1987). Wechsler Memory Scale—Revised. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.
Whitwell, J., Petersen, R., Negash, S., Weigand, S., Ivnik, R., Knopman, D., Boeve, B., Smith, G., & Jack, C. Jr. (2007). Patterns of atrophy differ among specific subtypes of mild cognitive impairment. Archives of Neurology, 64(8), 11301138.
Whitwell, J., Shiung, M., Przybelski, S., Weigand, S., Knopman, D., Boeve, B., Petersen, R., & Jack, C. Jr. (2008). MRI patterns of atrophy associated with progression to AD in amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Neurology, 70, 512520.
Winblad, B., Palmer, K., Kivipelto, M., Jelic, V., Fratiglioni, L., Wahlund, L.-O., Nordberg, A., Backman, L., Albert, M., Almkvist, O., Arai, H., Basun, H., Blennow, K., de Leon, C., Decarli, C., Erkinjuntti, T., Giacobini, E., Graff, C., Hardy, J., Jack, C.J., Jorm, A., Ritchie, K., Van Duijn, C., Visser, P., & Petersen, R. (2004). Mild cognitive impairment—Beyond controversies, towards a consensus: Report of the International Working Group on Mild Cognitive Impairment. Journal of Internal Medicine, 256, 240246.
Yoshita, M., Fletcher, E., Harvey, D., Ortega, M., Martinez, O., Mungas, D.M., Reed, B.R., & DeCarli, C.S. (2006). Extent and distribution of white matter hyperintensities in normal aging, MCI, and AD. Neurology, 67(12), 21922198.
Zanetti, M., Ballabio, C., Abbate, C., Cutaia, C., Vergani, C., & Bergamaschini, L. (2006). Mild cognitive impairment subtypes and vascular dementia in community-dwelling elderly people: A 3-year follow-up study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 54(4), 580586.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Functional magnetic resonance imaging changes in amnestic and nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment during encoding and recognition tasks



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.