Ageing entails cognitive and motor decline as well as brain changes such as loss of gray (GM) and white matter (WM) integrity, neurovascular and functional connectivity alterations. Regarding connectivity, reduced resting-state fMRI connectivity between anterior and posterior nodes of the Default Mode Network (DMN) relates to cognitive function and has been postulated to be a hallmark of ageing. However, the relationship between age-related connectivity changes and other neuroimaging-based measures in ageing is fragmentarily investigated. In a sample of 116 healthy elders we aimed to study the relationship between antero-posterior DMN connectivity and measures of WM integrity, GM integrity and cerebral blood flow (CBF), assessed with an arterial spin labeling sequence. First, we replicated previous findings demonstrating DMN connectivity decreases in ageing and an association between antero-posterior DMN connectivity and memory scores. The results showed that the functional connectivity between posterior midline structures and the medial prefrontal cortex was related to measures of WM and GM integrity but not to CBF. Gray and WM correlates of anterio-posterior DMN connectivity included, but were not limited to, DMN areas and cingulum bundle. These results resembled patterns of age-related vulnerability which was studied by comparing the correlates of antero-posterior DMN with age-effect maps. These age-effect maps were obtained after performing an independent analysis with a second sample including both young and old subjects. We argue that antero-posterior connectivity might be a sensitive measure of brain ageing over the brain. By using a comprehensive approach, the results provide valuable knowledge that may shed further light on DMN connectivity dysfunctions in ageing.
In non-demented older persons, smell dysfunction, measured premortem, has been associated with postmortem brain degeneration similar to that of Alzheimers disease. We hypothesized that distinct measures of gray and white matter integrity evaluated through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques could detect degenerative changes associated with age-related olfactory dysfunction. High-resolution T1-weighted images and diffusion-tensor images (DTI) of 30 clinically healthy subjects aged 51-77 were acquired with a 3-Tesla MRI scanner. Odor identification performance was assessed by means of the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). UPSIT scores correlated with right amygdalar volume and bilateral perirhinal and entorhinal cortices gray matter volume. Olfactory performance also correlated with postcentral gyrus cortical thickness and with fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity levels in the splenium of the corpus callosum and the superior longitudinal fasciculi. Our results suggest that age-related olfactory loss is accompanied by diffuse degenerative changes that might correspond to the preclinical stages of neurodegenerative processes.
Malignant middle cerebral artery (MMCA) infarction is associated with a mortality rate of 80% under conservative treatment. Decompressive hemicraniectomy (DH) reduces mortality and improves the functional outcome of surviving patients. The purpose of this study was to examine quality of life (QoL) and neurobehavioral deficits in patients with space-occupying infarctions of the right- or left-sided hemisphere at 6 months after stroke. The Sickness Impact Profile (SIP) was used to assess QoL in 19 out of 29 consecutive patients that underwent DH after a malignant MCA infarction (14 on the right and 5 on the left hemisphere). Behavioral changes were evaluated with the Frontal Behavioral Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory. Patients and relatives were also asked if, knowing the present outcome, they would agree again, in retrospect, to a DH. Barthel Index >60 was seen in 37% of our patients. Functional outcome was related to age. We found a higher reduction in the SIPs physical domain than in the psychosocial domain. Depressive symptoms were present in 50% of the patients. We didnt find significant differences in QoL or functional outcome between patients with right or left-sided infarctions. The most frequent neurobehavioral symptoms were decreased speech output, apathy, reduced spontaneity and irritability. Most patients and their relatives would again give consent to hemicraniectomy. The results show that younger patients had a significantly better outcome. QoL seems to be acceptable in both left- and right-sided infarctions, and retrospective agreement to hemicraniectomy is high in both patients and their relatives.
Low levels of hypocretin-1 (HC-1) have been associated with hypersomnia, obesity, depression, and chronic headaches. These conditions are frequently present in patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) and may be associated with abnormalities of the hypocretin system. The aim of this study was to determine HC-1 concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in a series of patients with IIH and to compare these concentrations with those in a control group with no neurological alterations.
Although idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) is considered a treatable dementia, there is still some controversy regarding the cognitive improvement in these patients. The main aims of this study were to analyze baseline cognitive status and to study the neuropsychological changes after surgical treatment in a sample of 185 consecutive iNPH patients. An additional aim was to identify the variables that influenced the cognitive outcome. Specific tests assessing memory, attention, visual scanning, executive functions (EFs), and motor speed were used before and 6 months after shunting. The cognitive domains most affected at baseline were memory, EFs, attention, and psychomotor speed. After shunting, significant differences in the group as a whole were found in all tests except Digits Forward and Trail Making Part B. However, less than 50% of patients showed a significant improvement when analyzed individually. Previous global cognitive status assessed by Mini-Mental State Examination baseline scores was the best predictor for the cognitive outcome.
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