Document Detail

Dual voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the healthy elderly: subcortical-frontal axonal N-acetylaspartate levels are correlated with fluid cognitive abilities independent of structural brain changes.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11112406     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The published literature suggests that degeneration of the subcorticofrontal networks may underlie cognitive ageing, but appropriate methods to examine this in vivo have been lacking. Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) has now been used in a number of clinical studies to assess cerebral pathophysicochemistry and recently has been utilized to examine the relationship between neurochemical markers and cognitive functioning in normal individuals. Results have been somewhat conflicting and difficult to interpret. To further clarify the role of the cognitive spectroscopy technique, we measured N-acetylaspartate (NAA) levels in the frontal subcortical white matter and the occipitoparietal grey matter and correlated them with performance in different cognitive domains in a group of twenty healthy elderly individuals. Subjects underwent whole brain T(1)- and T(2)-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), dual voxel short echo-time (1)H-MRS, and a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment. Individual tests of executive and attentional abilities, and a principal components composite score reflecting these skills, but not measures of memory or verbal abilities, were correlated with NAA concentration in the frontal white matter only. These relationships were independent of other neurocognitive predictors of executive impairment such as age, midventricular dilation, frontal white matter disease, and presenescent verbal proficiency. This study suggests the ability of (1)H-MRS to differentiate anatomically distinct neurochemical markers related to specific cognitive abilities. In particular, neurometabolic fitness of the frontal subcortical-cortical axonal fibers may be important in mediating fluid intellectual processing. Longitudinal MRS studies are required to determine if the present results reflect different rates of neurocellular degeneration or preexisting individual differences in neuronal density.
M J Valenzuela; P S Sachdev; W Wen; R Shnier; H Brodaty; D Gillies
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  NeuroImage     Volume:  12     ISSN:  1053-8119     ISO Abbreviation:  Neuroimage     Publication Date:  2000 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-02-02     Completed Date:  2001-02-02     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9215515     Medline TA:  Neuroimage     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  747-56     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Sydney, NSW, 2033, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Aged, 80 and over
Aging / physiology*
Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives*,  metabolism
Cognition / physiology*
Energy Metabolism / physiology
Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology,  physiology*
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
Middle Aged
Nerve Net / anatomy & histology,  physiology
Neuropsychological Tests
Reference Values
Reg. No./Substance:
56-84-8/Aspartic Acid; 997-55-7/N-acetylaspartate

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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