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Hippocampal viscoelasticity and episodic memory performance in healthy older adults examined with magnetic resonance elastography.

Authors
  • Hiscox, Lucy V1, 2, 3
  • Johnson, Curtis L4
  • McGarry, Matthew D J5
  • Schwarb, Hillary6
  • van Beek, Edwin J R7
  • Roberts, Neil7
  • Starr, John M8, 9
  • 1 Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. [email protected]
  • 2 Edinburgh Imaging Facility, Queens Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. [email protected]
  • 3 Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA. [email protected]
  • 4 Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA.
  • 5 Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA.
  • 6 Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA.
  • 7 Edinburgh Imaging Facility, Queens Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
  • 8 Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
  • 9 Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Brain Imaging and Behavior
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2020
Volume
14
Issue
1
Pages
175–185
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11682-018-9988-8
PMID: 30382528
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Episodic memory is particularly sensitive to normative aging; however, studies investigating the structure-function relationships that support episodic memory have primarily been limited to gross volumetric measures of brain tissue health. Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is an emerging non-invasive, high-resolution imaging technique that uniquely quantifies brain viscoelasticity, and as such, provides a more specific measure of neural microstructural integrity. Recently, a significant double dissociation between orbitofrontal cortex-fluid intelligence and hippocampal-relational memory structure-function relationships was observed in young adults, highlighting the potential of sensitive MRE measures for studying brain health and its relation to cognitive function. However, the structure-function relationship observed by MRE has not yet been explored in healthy older adults. In this study, we examined the relationship between hippocampal (HC) viscoelasticity and episodic memory in cognitively healthy adults aged 66-73 years (N = 11), as measured with the verbal-paired associates (VPA) subtest from the Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS-R). Given the particular dependence of verbal memory tasks on the left HC, unilateral HC MRE measurements were considered for the first time. A significant negative correlation was found between left HC damping ratio, ξ and VPA recall score (rs = -0.77, p = 0.009), which is consistent with previous findings of a relationship between HC ξ and memory performance in young adults. Conversely, correlations between right HC ξ with VPA recall score were not significant. These results highlight the utility of MRE to study cognitive decline and brain aging and suggest its possible use as a sensitive imaging biomarker for memory-related impairments.

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