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Physical activity (PA) may help maintain brain structure and function in aging. Since the intensity of PA needed to effect cognition and cerebrovascular health remains unknown, we examined associations between PA and cognition, regional white matter hyperintensities (WMH), and regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) in older adults.
Forty-three older adults without cognitive impairment underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and comprehensive neuropsychological assessment. Waist-worn accelerometers objectively measured PA for approximately one week.
Higher time spent in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) was uniquely associated with better memory and executive functioning after adjusting for all light PA. Higher MVPA was also uniquely associated with lower frontal WMH volume although the finding was no longer significant after additionally adjusting for age and accelerometer wear time. MVPA was not associated with CBF. Higher time spent in all light PA was uniquely associated with higher CBF but not with cognitive performance or WMH volume.
Engaging in PA may be beneficial for cerebrovascular health, and MVPA in particular may help preserve memory and executive function in otherwise cognitively healthy older adults. There may be differential effects of engaging in lighter PA and MVPA on MRI markers of cerebrovascular health although this needs to be confirmed in future studies with larger samples. Future randomized controlled trials that increase PA are needed to elucidate cause-effect associations between PA and cerebrovascular health.
Cognitive dispersion across neuropsychological measures within a single testing session is a promising marker predictive of cognitive decline and development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, little is known regarding brain changes underlying cognitive dispersion, and the association of cognitive dispersion with in vivo AD biomarkers and regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) has received limited study. We therefore examined associations among cognitive dispersion, amyloid-beta (Aβ) positivity, and regional CBF among older adults free of dementia.
One hundred and forty-eight Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) participants underwent neuropsychological testing and neuroimaging. Pulsed arterial spin labeling (ASL) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was acquired to quantify CBF. Florbetapir positron emission tomography (PET) imaging determined Aβ positivity.
Adjusting for age, gender, education, and mean cognitive performance, older adults who were Aβ+ showed higher cognitive dispersion relative to those who were Aβ-. Across the entire sample, higher cognitive dispersion was associated with reduced CBF in inferior parietal and temporal regions. Secondary analyses stratified by Aβ status demonstrated that higher cognitive dispersion was associated with reduced CBF among Aβ+ individuals but not among those who were Aβ-.
Cognitive dispersion may be sensitive to early Aβ accumulation and cerebrovascular changes adjusting for demographics and mean neuropsychological performance. Associations between cognitive dispersion and CBF were observed among Aβ+ individuals, suggesting that cognitive dispersion may be a marker of brain changes among individuals on the AD continuum. Future studies should examine whether cognitive dispersion predicts brain changes in diverse samples and among those with greater vascular risk burden.
To develop and validate the Discrepancy-based Evidence for Loss of Thinking Abilities (DELTA) score. The DELTA score characterizes the strength of evidence for cognitive decline on a continuous spectrum using well-established psychometric principles for improving detection of cognitive changes.
DELTA score development used neuropsychological test scores from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) cohort (two tests each from Memory, Executive Function, and Language domains). We derived regression-based normative reference scores using age, gender, years of education, and word-reading ability from robust cognitively normal ADNI participants. Discrepancies between predicted and observed scores were used for calculating the DELTA score (range 0–15). We validated DELTA scores primarily against longitudinal Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes (CDR-SOB) and Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) scores (baseline assessment through Year 3) using linear mixed models and secondarily against cross-sectional Alzheimer’s biomarkers.
There were 1359 ADNI participants with calculable baseline DELTA scores (age 73.7 ± 7.1 years, 55.4% female, 100% white/Caucasian). Higher baseline DELTA scores (stronger evidence of cognitive decline) predicted higher baseline CDR-SOB (ΔR2 = .318) and faster rates of CDR-SOB increase over time (ΔR2 = .209). Longitudinal changes in DELTA scores tracked closely and in the same direction as CDR-SOB scores (fixed and random effects of mean + mean-centered DELTA, ΔR2 > .7). Results were similar for FAQ scores. High DELTA scores predicted higher PET-Aβ SUVr (ρ = 324), higher CSF-pTau/CSF-Aβ ratio (ρ = .460), and demonstrated PPV > .9 for positive Alzheimer’s disease biomarker classification.
Data support initial development and validation of the DELTA score through its associations with longitudinal functional changes and Alzheimer’s biomarkers. We provide several considerations for future research and include an automated scoring program for clinical use.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) history have high rates of performance validity test (PVT) failure. The study aimed to determine whether those with scores in the invalid versus valid range on PVTs show similar benefit from psychotherapy and if psychotherapy improves PVT performance.
Veterans (N = 100) with PTSD, mild-to-moderate TBI history, and cognitive complaints underwent neuropsychological testing at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month post-treatment. Veterans were randomly assigned to cognitive processing therapy (CPT) or a novel hybrid intervention integrating CPT with TBI psychoeducation and cognitive rehabilitation strategies from Cognitive Symptom Management and Rehabilitation Therapy (CogSMART). Performance below standard cutoffs on any PVT trial across three different PVT measures was considered invalid (PVT-Fail), whereas performance above cutoffs on all measures was considered valid (PVT-Pass).
Although both PVT groups exhibited clinically significant improvement in PTSD symptoms, the PVT-Pass group demonstrated greater symptom reduction than the PVT-Fail group. Measures of post-concussive and depressive symptoms improved to a similar degree across groups. Treatment condition did not moderate these results. Rate of valid test performance increased from baseline to follow-up across conditions, with a stronger effect in the SMART-CPT compared to CPT condition.
Both PVT groups experienced improved psychological symptoms following treatment. Veterans who failed PVTs at baseline demonstrated better test engagement following treatment, resulting in higher rates of valid PVTs at follow-up. Veterans with invalid PVTs should be enrolled in trauma-focused treatment and may benefit from neuropsychological assessment after, rather than before, treatment.
Objectives: Although subjective cognitive complaints (SCC) are an integral component of the diagnostic criteria for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), previous findings indicate they may not accurately reflect cognitive ability. Within the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, we investigated longitudinal change in the discrepancy between self- and informant-reported SCC across empirically derived subtypes of MCI and normal control (NC) participants. Methods: Data were obtained for 353 MCI participants and 122 “robust” NC participants. Participants were classified into three subtypes at baseline via cluster analysis: amnestic MCI, mixed MCI, and cluster-derived normal (CDN), a presumptive false-positive group who performed within normal limits on neuropsychological testing. SCC at baseline and two annual follow-up visits were assessed via the Everyday Cognition Questionnaire (ECog), and discrepancy scores between self- and informant-report were calculated. Analysis of change was conducted using analysis of covariance. Results: The amnestic and mixed MCI subtypes demonstrated increasing ECog discrepancy scores over time. This was driven by an increase in informant-reported SCC, which corresponded to participants’ objective cognitive decline, despite stable self-reported SCC. Increasing unawareness was associated with cerebrospinal fluid Alzheimer’s disease biomarker positivity and progression to Alzheimer’s disease. In contrast, CDN and NC groups over-reported cognitive difficulty and demonstrated normal cognition at all time points. Conclusions: MCI participants’ discrepancy scores indicate progressive underappreciation of their evolving cognitive deficits. Consistent over-reporting in the CDN and NC groups despite normal objective cognition suggests that self-reported SCC do not predict impending cognitive decline. Results demonstrate that self-reported SCC become increasingly misleading as objective cognitive impairment becomes more pronounced. (JINS, 2018, 24, 842–853)
Objectives: Careful characterization of how functional decline co-evolves with cognitive decline in older adults has yet to be well described. Most models of neurodegenerative disease postulate that cognitive decline predates and potentially leads to declines in everyday functional abilities; however, there is mounting evidence that subtle decline in instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) may be detectable in older individuals who are still cognitively normal. Methods: The present study examines how the relationship between change in cognition and change in IADLs are best characterized among older adults who participated in the ACTIVE trial. Neuropsychological and IADL data were analyzed for 2802 older adults who were cognitively normal at study baseline and followed for up to 10 years. Results: Findings demonstrate that subtle, self-perceived difficulties in performing IADLs preceded and predicted subsequent declines on cognitive tests of memory, reasoning, and speed of processing. Conclusions: Findings are consistent with a growing body of literature suggesting that subjective changes in everyday abilities can be associated with more precipitous decline on objective cognitive measures and the development of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. (JINS, 2018, 24, 104–112)
Objectives: Within the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI)’s mild cognitive impairment (MCI) cohort, we previously identified MCI subtypes as well as participants initially diagnosed with MCI but found to have normal neuropsychological, biomarker, and neuroimaging profiles. We investigated the functional change over time in these empirically derived MCI subgroups. Methods: ADNI MCI participants (n=654) were classified using cluster analysis as Amnestic MCI (single-domain memory impairment), Dysnomic MCI (memory+language impairments), Dysexecutive/Mixed MCI (memory+language+attention/executive impairments), or Cluster-Derived Normal (CDN). Robust normal control participants (NCs; n=284) were also examined. The Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) was administered at baseline through 48-month follow-up. Multilevel modeling examined FAQ trajectories by cognitive subgroup. Results: The Dysexecutive/Mixed group demonstrated the fastest rate of decline across all groups. Amnestic and Dysnomic groups showed steeper rates of decline than CDNs. While CDNs had more functional difficulty than NCs across visits, both groups’ mean FAQ scores remained below its suggested cutoff at all visits. Conclusions: Results (a) show the importance of executive dysfunction in the context of other impaired cognitive domains when predicting functional decline in at-risk elders, and (b) support our previous work demonstrating that ADNI’s MCI criteria may have resulted in false-positive MCI diagnoses, given the CDN’s better FAQ trajectory than those of the cognitively impaired MCI groups. (JINS, 2017, 23, 521–527)
Rates of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have varied substantially, depending on the criteria used and the samples surveyed. The present investigation used a psychometric algorithm for identifying MCI and its stability to determine if low cognitive functioning was related to poorer longitudinal outcomes. The Advanced Cognitive Training of Independent and Vital Elders (ACTIVE) study is a multi-site longitudinal investigation of long-term effects of cognitive training with older adults. ACTIVE exclusion criteria eliminated participants at highest risk for dementia (i.e., Mini-Mental State Examination < 23). Using composite normative for sample- and training-corrected psychometric data, 8.07% of the sample had amnestic impairment, while 25.09% had a non-amnestic impairment at baseline. Poorer baseline functional scores were observed in those with impairment at the first visit, including a higher rate of attrition, depressive symptoms, and self-reported physical functioning. Participants were then classified based upon the stability of their classification. Those who were stably impaired over the 5-year interval had the worst functional outcomes (e.g., Instrumental Activities of Daily Living performance), and inconsistency in classification over time also appeared to be associated increased risk. These findings suggest that there is prognostic value in assessing and tracking cognition to assist in identifying the critical baseline features associated with poorer outcomes. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1–15)
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