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To compare the prevalence of select cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs) in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) versus lifetime history of major depression disorder (MDD) and a normal comparison group using baseline data from the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia with Cognitive Remediation plus Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (PACt-MD) study.
Baseline data from a multi-centered intervention study of older adults with MCI, history of MDD, or combined MCI and history of MDD (PACt-MD) were analyzed.
Community-based multi-centered study based in Toronto across 5 academic sites.
Older adults with MCI, history of MDD, or combined MCI and history of MDD and healthy controls.
We examined the baseline distribution of smoking, hypertension and diabetes in three groups of participants aged 60+ years in the PACt-MD cohort study: MCI (n = 278), MDD (n = 95), and healthy older controls (n = 81). Generalized linear models were fitted to study the effect of CVRFs on MCI and MDD as well as neuropsychological composite scores.
A higher odds of hypertension among the MCI cohort compared to healthy controls (p < .05) was noted in unadjusted analysis. Statistical significance level was lost on adjusting for age, sex and education (p > .05). A history of hypertension was associated with lower performance in composite executive function (p < .05) and overall composite neuropsychological test score (p < .05) among a pooled cohort with MCI or MDD.
This study reinforces the importance of treating modifiable CVRFs, specifically hypertension, as a means of mitigating cognitive decline in patients with at-risk cognitive conditions.
Appropriate screening is integral to the early diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD). The Paired Associates Learning (PAL) task is a digital cognitive task that is free of cultural, language, and educational biases. This study examined the association between the PAL task performance and global cognition and the usefulness of the PAL task as a screening tool for AD.
Twenty-five participants with AD and 22 healthy comparators (HC) were included. The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery PAL task and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) were used to assess cognition. We assessed the relationship between the PAL task and MoCA performance using Pearson correlation and linear regression. We also examined the PAL task’s ability to distinguish between AD and HC participants using Receiver Operating Characteristic curve (ROC) analysis.
MoCA Total Score had a strong positive correlation with PAL Stages Completed score (r = 0.8, p < 0.001), and a strong negative correlation with PAL Total Errors (adjusted) score (r = −0.9, p < 0.001). Further, PAL Total Errors (adjusted) score predicted the MoCA Total Score (F (4, 46) = 37.2, p < 0.001). On ROC analysis, PAL Total Errors (adjusted) score cut-off of 54 errors had 92% sensitivity and 86% specificity to detect AD.
Performance on the PAL task is highly associated with global cognition. Further, the PAL task can differentiate patients with AD from HCs with high sensitivity and specificity. Thus, the PAL task may hold potential usage as an easy-to-administer screening tool for AD.
Pilot randomized double-blind-controlled trial of repetitive paired associative stimulation (rPAS), a paradigm that combines transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) with peripheral median nerve stimulation.
To study the impact of rPAS on DLPFC plasticity and working memory performance in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Thirty-two patients with AD (females = 16), mean (SD) age = 76.4 (6.3) years were randomized 1:1 to receive a 2-week (5 days/week) course of active or control rPAS. DLPFC plasticity was assessed using single session PAS combined with electroencephalography (EEG) at baseline and on days 1, 7, and 14 post-rPAS. Working memory and theta–gamma coupling were assessed at the same time points using the N-back task and EEG.
There were no significant differences between the active and control rPAS groups on DLPFC plasticity or working memory performance after the rPAS intervention. There were significant main effects of time on DLPFC plasticity, working memory, and theta–gamma coupling, only for the active rPAS group. Further, on post hoc within-group analyses done to generate hypotheses for future research, as compared to baseline, only the rPAS group improved on post-rPAS day 1 on all three indices. Finally, there was a positive correlation between working memory performance and theta–gamma coupling.
This study did not show a beneficial effect of rPAS for DLPFC plasticity or working memory in AD. However, post hoc analyses showed promising results favoring rPAS and supporting further research on this topic. (Clinicaltrials.gov-NCT01847586)