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Problem-solving abilities and frontal lobe cortical thickness in healthy aging and mild cognitive impairment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2010

G. SÁNCHEZ-BENAVIDES
Affiliation:
Group of Behavioral Neurology, Neuropsychopharmacology Program, Institut Municipal d’Investigació Mèdica, Barcelona, Spain Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
B. GÓMEZ-ANSÓN
Affiliation:
Neuroradiology Unit, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain
M. QUINTANA
Affiliation:
Group of Behavioral Neurology, Neuropsychopharmacology Program, Institut Municipal d’Investigació Mèdica, Barcelona, Spain
Y. VIVES
Affiliation:
Port d’Informació Cientifica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
R.M. MANERO
Affiliation:
Group of Behavioral Neurology, Neuropsychopharmacology Program, Institut Municipal d’Investigació Mèdica, Barcelona, Spain Section of Behavioral Neurology and Dementias, Hospital del Mar, Institut Municipal d’Assistència Sanitària, Barcelona, Spain
A. SAINZ
Affiliation:
Port d’Informació Cientifica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
R. BLESA
Affiliation:
Service of Neurology, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain
J.L. MOLINUEVO
Affiliation:
Service of Neurology, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain
J. PEÑA-CASANOVA
Affiliation:
Group of Behavioral Neurology, Neuropsychopharmacology Program, Institut Municipal d’Investigació Mèdica, Barcelona, Spain Section of Behavioral Neurology and Dementias, Hospital del Mar, Institut Municipal d’Assistència Sanitària, Barcelona, Spain
Corresponding

Abstract

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered a transitional state between normal aging and Alzheimer disease. Most MCI subjects present disturbances in multiple neuropsychological domains, including executive function. This study aimed at exploring frontal lobe cortical thinning in MCI and healthy controls, and its relationship with problem-solving abilities. Twenty-three MCI patients and 30 elderly controls underwent MRI and neuropsychological assessment. Cortical thickness was measured by means of FreeSurfer. Problem-solving was assessed by means of the Tower of London (TOL) task. MCI showed a global thinning of the cortex. With regard to specific regions of interest, a thinning in the left frontal lobe and the bilateral posterior cingulate gyri was found. Partial correlations, after controlling for age, education, Mini-Mental Status Examination, and non-frontal mean thickness revealed negative significant correlations between frontal lobe thickness and executive outcomes in the control group. This counterintuitive relationship was not observed in the MCI group, suggesting that the frontal cortical atrophy observed in MCI entails a specific pathology-related relationship with high-level executive outcomes that is qualitatively different from that observed in healthy aging. (JINS, 2010, 16, 836–845.)

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2010

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