Blog Archives

Cognitive reserve and Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers are independent determinants of cognition

The objective of this study was to investigate how a measure of educational and occupational attainment, a component of cognitive reserve, modifies the relationship between biomarkers of pathology and cognition in Alzheimer’s disease. The biomarkers evaluated quantified neurodegeneration via atrophy on magnetic resonance images, neuronal injury via cerebral spinal fluid t-tau, brain amyloid-β load via cerebral spinal fluid amyloid-β1–42 and vascular disease via white matter hyperintensities on T2/proton density magnetic resonance images. We included 109 cognitively normal subjects, 192 amnestic patients with mild cognitive impairment and 98 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative study, who had undergone baseline lumbar puncture and magnetic resonance imaging. We combined patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease in a group labelled ‘cognitively impaired’ subjects. Structural Abnormality Index scores, which reflect the degree of Alzheimer’s disease-like anatomic features on magnetic resonance images, were computed for each subject. We assessed Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (cognitive behaviour section) and mini-mental state examination scores as measures of general cognition and Auditory–Verbal Learning Test delayed recall, Boston naming and Trails B scores as measures of specific domains in both groups of subjects. The number of errors on the American National Adult Reading Test was used as a measure of environmental enrichment provided by educational and occupational attainment, a component of cognitive reserve. We found that in cognitively normal subjects, none of the biomarkers correlated with the measures of cognition, whereas American National Adult Reading Test scores were significantly correlated with Boston naming and mini-mental state examination results. In cognitively impaired subjects, the American National Adult Reading Test and all biomarkers of neuronal pathology and amyloid load were independently correlated with all cognitive measures. Exceptions to this general conclusion were absence of correlation between cerebral spinal fluid amyloid-β1–42 and Boston naming and Trails B. In contrast, white matter hyperintensities were only correlated with Boston naming and Trails B results in the cognitively impaired. When all subjects were included in a flexible ordinal regression model that allowed for non-linear effects and interactions, we found that the American National Adult Reading Test had an independent additive association such that better performance was associated with better cognitive performance across the biomarker distribution. Our main conclusions included: (i) that in cognitively normal subjects, the variability in cognitive performance is explained partly by the American National Adult Reading Test and not by biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease pathology; (ii) in cognitively impaired subjects, the American National Adult Reading Test, biomarkers of neuronal pathology (structural magnetic resonance imaging and cerebral spinal fluid t-tau) and amyloid load (cerebral spinal fluid amyloid-β1–42) all independently explain variability in general cognitive performance; and (iii) that the association between cognition and the American National Adult Reading Test was found to be additive rather than to interact with biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

from Brain


The Effects of Humming and Pitch on Craniofacial and Craniocervical Morphology Measured Using MRI

Traditional voice research occurs within a phonetic context. Accordingly, pitch-related contributions are inseparable from those due to articulator input. In humming, articulator input is negligible. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we test the hypothesis that voice production is accompanied by pitch-related adjustments unrelated to articulatory or postural input.

from the Journal of Voice

Different structural correlates for verbal memory impairment in temporal lobe epilepsy with and without mesial temporal lobe sclerosis

Objectives: Memory impairment is one of the most prominent cognitive deficits in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). The overall goal of this study was to explore the contribution of cortical and hippocampal (subfield) damage to impairment of auditory immediate recall (AIMrecall), auditory delayed recall (ADMrecall), and auditory delayed recognition (ADMrecog) of the Wechsler Memory Scale III (WMS-III) in TLE with (TLE–MTS) and without hippocampal sclerosis (TLE-no). It was hypothesized that volume loss in different subfields determines memory impairment in TLE–MTS and temporal neocortical thinning in TLE-no. Methods: T1 whole brain and T2-weighted hippocampal magnetic resonance imaging and WMS-III were acquired in 22 controls, 18 TLE–MTS, and 25 TLE-no. Hippocampal subfields were determined on the T2 image. Free surfer was used to obtain cortical thickness averages of temporal, frontal, and parietal cortical regions of interest (ROI). MANOVA and stepwise regression analysis were used to identify hippocampal subfields and cortical ROI significantly contributing to AIMrecall, ADMrecall, and ADMrecog. Results: In TLE–MTS, AIMrecall was associated with cornu ammonis 3 (CA3) and dentate (CA3&DG) and pars opercularis, ADMrecall with CA1 and pars triangularis, and ADMrecog with CA1. In TLE-no, AIMrecall was associated with CA3&DG and fusiform gyrus (FUSI), and ADMrecall and ADMrecog were associated with FUSI. Conclusion: The study provided the evidence for different structural correlates of the verbal memory impairment in TLE–MTS and TLE-no. In TLE–MTS, the memory impairment was mainly associated by subfield-specific hippocampal and inferior frontal cortical damage. In TLE-no, the impairment was associated by mesial–temporal cortical and to a lesser degree hippocampal damage. Hum Brain Mapp, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

from Human Brain Mapping

Superficial Siderosis of the CNS and Otoneurological Manifestations

Superficial siderosis is an uncommon condition occurring in central nervous system (CNS) due to deposition of hemosiderin in the subpial meningeal layer causing progressive neurological dysfunction. The classical clinical manifestation is a triad of chronic ataxia, bipyramidal signs and progressive bilateral symmetrical sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). It has rarely been reported in Indian literature. We report an unusual case of superficial siderosis in a 60-year-old farmer who presented with the above triad along with involvement of olfactory nerve. We present this case to highlight the fact that progressive SNHL can be an important sign for the early awareness of this rare disorder. The literature on superficial siderosis is reviewed and the pathogenesis is discussed.

from the Indian Journal of Otolaryngology

Lateralization of the arcuate fasciculus and its differential correlation with reading ability between young learners and experienced readers: A diffusion tensor tractography study in a chinese cohort

As Chinese reading engages a different neural network from alphabetic language reading, we investigate whether leftward lateralization of the arcuate fasciculus (AF), as observed in the Western population, is also present in the Chinese population and if it does, whether it is associated with better reading ability. Diffusion tensor tractography analysis on 75 Chinese subjects of three age groups (first graders, fourth graders, and college students) showed that 70–83% of them had leftward lateralization of the AF. The pattern of lateralization did not differ significantly among the three groups, suggesting that lateralization of the AF is formed at an early age and before one enters first grade. Among the first graders, who had just started to learn to read, subjects with strongly leftward lateralized AF scored significantly higher than those with other defined lateralization patterns in Chinese (P = 0.001) and English (P = 0.036) reading tasks. This association was not observed among the fourth graders and college students who were experienced Chinese readers. Among the fourth graders, females were found to obtain significantly higher Chinese (P = 0.033) and English reading scores than males (P = 0.002). Our study suggests a differential effect of leftward lateralization of the AF on reading ability at different stages of reading development in the Chinese population

from Human Brain Mapping

Relationships Between Vocal Structures, the Airway, and Craniocervical Posture Investigated Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Finding widespread correlations relating vocal structures to the craniofacial skeleton and cervical spine confirms the potential of this approach to uncover functional activity during voice production and demonstrates the importance of considering vocal structures and the airway within this wider context if important information is not to be missed.

from the Journal of Voice

Neuroanatomical changes due to hearing loss and chronic tinnitus: A combined VBM and DTI study

Subjective tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an external source. Tinnitus is often accompanied by hearing loss but not everyone with hearing loss experiences tinnitus. We examined neuroanatomical alterations associated with hearing loss and tinnitus in three groups of subjects: those with hearing loss with tinnitus, those with hearing loss without tinnitus and normal hearing controls without tinnitus. To examine changes in gray matter we used structural MRI scans and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and to identify changes in white matter tract orientation we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). A major finding of our study was that there were both gray and white matter changes in the vicinity of the auditory cortex for subjects with hearing loss alone relative to those with tinnitus and those with normal hearing. We did not find significant changes in gray or white matter in subjects with tinnitus and hearing loss compared to normal hearing controls. VBM analysis revealed that individuals with hearing loss without tinnitus had gray matter decreases in anterior cingulate and superior and medial frontal gyri relative to those with hearing loss and tinnitus. Region-of-interest analysis revealed additional decreases in superior temporal gyrus for the hearing loss group compared to the tinnitus group. Investigating effects of hearing loss alone, we found gray matter decreases in superior and medial frontal gyri in participants with hearing loss compared to normal hearing controls. DTI analysis showed decreases in fractional anisotropy values in the right superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi, corticospnial tract, inferior fronto-occipital tract, superior occipital fasciculus, and anterior thalamic radiation for the hearing loss group relative to normal hearing controls. In attempting to dissociate the effect of tinnitus from hearing loss, we observed that hearing loss rather than tinnitus had the greatest influence on gray and white matter alterations.

from Brain Research

The Amnestic Syndrome of Hippocampal in Alzheimer’s Disease: an MRI Study

The Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test (FCSRT) is a verbal episodic memory test used to identify patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The present study investigates the relationships between performance on FCSRT and grey matter atrophy assessed with structural MRI in patients with AD. Three complementary MRI-based analyses (VBM analysis, ROI-based analysis, and three-dimensional hippocampal surface-based shape analysis) were performed in 35 patients with AD to analyze correlations between regional atrophy and their scores for episodic memory using the FCSRT. With VBM analysis, the total score on the FCSRT was correlated with left medial temporal lobe atrophy including the left hippocampus but also the thalami. In addition, using ROI-based analysis, the total recall score on the FCSRT was correlated with the left hippocampal volume. With three-dimensional hippocampal surface-based shape analysis, both free recall and total recall scores were correlated with regions corresponding approximately to the CA1 field. No correlation was found with short term memory scores using any of these methods of analysis. In AD, the FCSRT may be considered as a useful clinical marker of memory disorders due to medial temporal damage, specially the CA1 field of the hippocampus.

from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

The structural plasticity of white matter networks following anterior temporal lobe resection

Anterior temporal lobe resection is an effective treatment for refractory temporal lobe epilepsy. The structural consequences of such surgery in the white matter, and how these relate to language function after surgery remain unknown. We carried out a longitudinal study with diffusion tensor imaging in 26 left and 20 right temporal lobe epilepsy patients before and a mean of 4.5 months after anterior temporal lobe resection. The whole-brain analysis technique tract-based spatial statistics was used to compare pre- and postoperative data in the left and right temporal lobe epilepsy groups separately. We observed widespread, significant, mean 7%, decreases in fractional anisotropy in white matter networks connected to the area of resection, following both left and right temporal lobe resections. However, we also observed a widespread, mean 8%, increase in fractional anisotropy after left anterior temporal lobe resection in the ipsilateral external capsule and posterior limb of the internal capsule, and corona radiata. These findings were confirmed on analysis of the native clusters and hand drawn regions of interest. Postoperative tractography seeded from this area suggests that this cluster is part of the ventro-medial language network. The mean pre- and postoperative fractional anisotropy and parallel diffusivity in this cluster were significantly correlated with postoperative verbal fluency and naming test scores. In addition, the percentage change in parallel diffusivity in this cluster was correlated with the percentage change in verbal fluency after anterior temporal lobe resection, such that the bigger the increase in parallel diffusivity, the smaller the fall in language proficiency after surgery. We suggest that the findings of increased fractional anisotropy in this ventro-medial language network represent structural reorganization in response to the anterior temporal lobe resection, which may damage the more susceptible dorso-lateral language pathway. These findings have important implications for our understanding of brain injury and rehabilitation, and may also prove useful in the prediction and minimization of postoperative language deficits.

from Brain

Cortical Anatomy in Autism Spectrum Disorder: An In Vivo MRI Study on the Effect of Age

There is increasing evidence that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have age-related differences from controls in cortical volume (CV). It is less clear, however, if these persist in adulthood and whether these reflect alterations in cortical thickness (CT) or cortical surface area (SA). Hence, we used magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the relationship between age and CV, CT, and SA in 127 males aged 10 through 60 years (76 with ASD and 51 healthy controls). “Regional” analyses (using cortical parcellation) identified significant age-by-group interactions in both CV and CT (but not SA) in the temporal lobes and within these the fusiform and middle temporal gyri. Spatially nonbiased “vertex-based” analysis replicated these results and identified additional “age-by-group” interactions for CT within superior temporal, inferior and medial frontal, and inferior parietal cortices. Here, CV and CT were 1) significantly negatively correlated with age in controls, but not in ASD, and 2) smaller in ASD than controls in childhood but vice versa in adulthood. Our findings suggest that CV dysmaturation in ASD extends beyond childhood, affects brain regions crucial to social cognition and language, and is driven by CT dysmaturation. This may reflect primary abnormalities in cortical plasticity and/or be secondary to disturbed interactions between individuals with ASD and their environment.

from Cerebral Cortex

Brain Imaging Findings in Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a brain-based disorder that has been intensively studied in the Western world for more than a century because of its social burden. However, affected individuals in Chinese communities are neither recognized nor formally diagnosed. Previous studies have concentrated on the disadvantages of reading deficits, and few have addressed non-linguistic skills, which are included in the symptoms. In addition, certain dyslexics possess visual spatial talents that have usually been ignored. In this review, we discuss the available information regarding brain imaging studies of dyslexia based on studies in Caucasian subjects. Gray matter deficits have been demonstrated in dyslexics using structural magnetic resonance imaging. Reduced neural activities in the left temporal and left parietal cortices, and diffuse widespread activation patterns in the cerebellum could be detected using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Changes in lactate levels, N-acetylaspartate/choline-containing compounds and N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratios, and phosphomonoester peak area were detected in magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies. Lower fractional aniso tropy values in bilateral white matter tracts have been demonstrated by diffusion tensor imaging. Abnormal Broca’s area activation was found using positron emission tomography imaging. Increased activities in the right frontal and temporal brain regions were detected using electroencephalography. Reduced hemispheric asymmetry and increased left inferior frontal activation were reported following magnetoencephalography. Although these imaging modalities are not currently diagnostic or prognostic, they are able to provide information on the causes of dyslexia beyond what was previously provided by behavioral or cognition studies.

from Pediatrics and Neonatology


Bilateral brain regions associated with naming in older adults

To determine structural brain correlates of naming abilities in older adults, we tested 24 individuals aged 56–79 on two confrontation-naming tests (the Boston Naming Test (BNT) and the Action Naming Test (ANT)), then collected from these individuals structural Magnetic-Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) data. Overall, several regions showed that greater gray and white matter volume/integrity measures were associated with better task performance. Left peri-Sylvian language regions and their right-hemisphere counterparts, plus left mid-frontal gyrus correlated with accuracy and/or negatively with response time (RT) on the naming tests. Fractional anisotropy maps derived from DTI showed robust positive correlations with ANT accuracy bilaterally in the temporal lobe and in right middle frontal lobe, as well as negative correlations with BNT RT, bilaterally, in the white matter within middle and inferior temporal lobes. We conclude that those older adults with relatively better naming skills can rely on right-hemisphere peri-Sylvian and mid-frontal regions and pathways, in conjunction with left-hemisphere peri-Sylvian and mid-frontal regions, to achieve their success.

from Brain and Language

Preoperative cerebral magnetic resonance imaging and white matter changes in pediatric cochlear implant recipients

Cerebral white matter abnormalities are not uncommon incidental findings in preoperative MRI scans in pediatric CI candidates. These changes may reflect remote or active pathology which may require neurological assessment. The significance of these findings is still uncertain and should be better clarified as we study more patients.

from the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology

MRI predictors of cognitive change in a diverse and carefully characterized elderly population

Baseline measures of brain structure and tissue pathology predicted rate of cognitive decline in a diverse and carefully characterized cohort, suggesting that they may provide summary measures of pre-existing neuropathological damage or the capacity of the brain to compensate for the impact of subsequent neuropathology on cognition. Conventional MRI measures may have use for predicting cognitive outcomes in highly heterogeneous elderly populations.

from Neurobiology of Aging

Genetic Covariation Between Brain Volumes and IQ, Reading Performance, and Processing Speed

Abstract Although there has been much interest in the relation between brain size and cognition, few studies have investigated this relation within a genetic framework and fewer still in non-adult samples. We analyzed the genetic and environmental covariance between structural MRI data from four brain regions (total brain volume, neocortex, white matter, and prefrontal cortex), and four cognitive measures (verbal IQ (VIQ), performance IQ (PIQ), reading ability, and processing speed), in a sample of 41 MZ twin pairs and 30 same-sex DZ twin pairs (mean age at cognitive test = 11.4 years; mean age at scan = 15.4 years). Multivariate Cholesky decompositions were performed with each brain volume measure entered first, followed by the four cognitive measures. Consistent with previous research, each brain and cognitive measure was found to be significantly heritable. The novel finding was the significant genetic but not environmental covariance between brain volumes and cognitive measures. Specifically, PIQ shared significant common genetic variance with all four measures of brain volume (r g = .58–.82). In contrast, VIQ shared significant genetic influence with neocortex volume only (r g = .58). Processing speed was significant with total brain volume (r g = .79), neocortex (r g = .64), and white matter (r g = .89), but not prefrontal cortex. The only brain measure to share genetic influence with reading was total brain volume (r g = .32), which also shared genetic influences with processing speed.

from Behavior Genetics