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2 Higher White Matter Hyperintensity Load Adversely Affects Pre-Post Proximal Cognitive Training Performance in Healthy Older Adults

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2023

Emanuel M Boutzoukas*
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Andrew O’Shea
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Jessica N Kraft
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Cheshire Hardcastle
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Nicole D Evangelista
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Hanna K Hausman
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Alejandro Albizu
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Emily J Van Etten
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Pradyumna K Bharadwaj
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Samantha G Smith
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Hyun Song
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Eric C Porges
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Alex Hishaw
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Steven T DeKosky
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Samuel S Wu
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Michael Marsiske
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Gene E Alexander
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Ronald Cohen
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Adam J Woods
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
*
Correspondence: Emanuel M. Boutzoukas, University of Florida, eboutzoukas94@ufl.edu
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Abstract

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Objective:

Cognitive training has shown promise for improving cognition in older adults. Aging involves a variety of neuroanatomical changes that may affect response to cognitive training. White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are one common age-related brain change, as evidenced by T2-weighted and Fluid Attenuated Inversion Recovery (FLAIR) MRI. WMH are associated with older age, suggestive of cerebral small vessel disease, and reflect decreased white matter integrity. Higher WMH load associates with reduced threshold for clinical expression of cognitive impairment and dementia. The effects of WMH on response to cognitive training interventions are relatively unknown. The current study assessed (a) proximal cognitive training performance following a 3-month randomized control trial and (b) the contribution of baseline whole-brain WMH load, defined as total lesion volume (TLV), on pre-post proximal training change.

Participants and Methods:

Sixty-two healthy older adults ages 65-84 completed either adaptive cognitive training (CT; n=31) or educational training control (ET; n=31) interventions. Participants assigned to CT completed 20 hours of attention/processing speed training and 20 hours of working memory training delivered through commercially-available Posit Science BrainHQ. ET participants completed 40 hours of educational videos. All participants also underwent sham or active transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as an adjunctive intervention, although not a variable of interest in the current study. Multimodal MRI scans were acquired during the baseline visit. T1- and T2-weighted FLAIR images were processed using the Lesion Segmentation Tool (LST) for SPM12. The Lesion Prediction Algorithm of LST automatically segmented brain tissue and calculated lesion maps. A lesion threshold of 0.30 was applied to calculate TLV. A log transformation was applied to TLV to normalize the distribution of WMH. Repeated-measures analysis of covariance (RM-ANCOVA) assessed pre/post change in proximal composite (Total Training Composite) and sub-composite (Processing Speed Training Composite, Working Memory Training Composite) measures in the CT group compared to their ET counterparts, controlling for age, sex, years of education and tDCS group. Linear regression assessed the effect of TLV on post-intervention proximal composite and sub-composite, controlling for baseline performance, intervention assignment, age, sex, years of education, multisite scanner differences, estimated total intracranial volume, and binarized cardiovascular disease risk.

Results:

RM-ANCOVA revealed two-way group*time interactions such that those assigned cognitive training demonstrated greater improvement on proximal composite (Total Training Composite) and sub-composite (Processing Speed Training Composite, Working Memory Training Composite) measures compared to their ET counterparts. Multiple linear regression showed higher baseline TLV associated with lower pre-post change on Processing Speed Training sub-composite (ß = -0.19, p = 0.04) but not other composite measures.

Conclusions:

These findings demonstrate the utility of cognitive training for improving postintervention proximal performance in older adults. Additionally, pre-post proximal processing speed training change appear to be particularly sensitive to white matter hyperintensity load versus working memory training change. These data suggest that TLV may serve as an important factor for consideration when planning processing speed-based cognitive training interventions for remediation of cognitive decline in older adults.

Type
Poster Session 07: Developmental | Pediatrics
Copyright
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2023