News | June 05, 2013

PET Finds Increased Cognitive Reserve Levels in Highly Educated Pre-Alzheimer’s Patients

Neural reserve and neural compensation were both shown to play a role in determining cognitive reserve

June 5, 2013 — Highly educated individuals with mild cognitive impairment that later progressed to Alzheimer’s disease cope better with the disease than individuals with a lower level of education in the same situation, according to research published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. In the study, “Metabolic Networks Underlying Cognitive Reserve in Prodromal Alzheimer Disease: A European Alzheimer Disease Consortium Project,” neural reserve and neural compensation were both shown to play a role in determining cognitive reserve, as evidenced by positron emission tomography (PET).

Cognitive reserve refers to the hypothesized capacity of an adult brain to cope with brain damage in order to maintain a relatively preserved functional level. Understanding the brain adaptation mechanisms underlying this process remains a critical question, and researchers of this study sought to investigate the metabolic basis of cognitive reserve in individuals with higher (more than 12 years) and lower (less than 12 years) levels of education who had mild cognitive impairment that progressed to Alzheimer’s disease, also known as prodromal Alzheimer’s disease.

“This study provides new insight into the functional mechanisms that mediate the cognitive reserve phenomenon in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Silvia Morbelli, M.D., lead author of the study.  “A crucial role of the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex was highlighted by demonstrating that this region is involved in a wide fronto-temporal and limbic functional network in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and high education, but not in poorly educated Alzheimer’s disease patients.”

In the study, 64 patients with prodromal Alzheimer’s disease and 90 control subjects — coming from the brain PET project of the European Alzheimer Disease Consortium — underwent brain 18F-FDG PET scans. Individuals were divided into a subgroup with a low level of education (42 controls and 36 prodromal Alzheimer’s disease patients) and a highly educated subgroup (40 controls and 28 prodromal Alzheimer’s disease patients). Brain metabolism was compared between education-matched groups of patients and controls, and then between highly and poorly educated prodromal Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Higher metabolic activity was shown in the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex for prodromal Alzheimer’s disease patients. More extended and significant correlations of metabolism within the right dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex and other brain regions were found with highly educated than less educated prodromal Alzheimer’s disease patients or even highly educated controls.

This result suggests that neural reserve and neural compensation are activated in highly educated prodromal Alzheimer’s disease patients. Researchers concluded that evaluation of the implication of metabolic connectivity in cognitive reserve further confirms that adding a comprehensive evaluation of resting 18F-FDG PET brain distribution to standard inspection may allow a more complete comprehension of Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology and possibly may increase 18F-FDG PET diagnostic sensitivity.

“This work supports the notion that employing the brain in complex tasks and developing our own education may help in forming stronger ‘defenses’ against cognitive deterioration once Alzheimer’s knocks at our door,” said Morbelli. “It’s possible that, in the future, a combined approach evaluating resting metabolic connectivity and cognitive performance can be used on an individual basis to better predict cognitive decline or response to disease-modifying therapy.”

For more information: jnm.snmjournals.org

Related Content

Novel PET Agent Could Help Guide Therapy for Brain Diseases

Rat brain 11C‐Me‐NB1 PET images (0‐60 min) superimposed on an MRI template. Credit: SD Krämer et al., ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

News | PET Imaging | April 10, 2018
Researchers have developed a new imaging agent that could help guide and assess treatments for people with various...
The Chalk River nuclear reactor license has been renewed, but will be decommissioned by 2028.

The Chalk River nuclear isotope reactor license has been renewed, but will be decommissioned by 2028. The reactor supplies about 50 percent of the world's supply of Tc99m.

Feature | Nuclear Imaging | April 02, 2018 | Dave Fornell
April 2, 2018 – The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced March 29 that it renewed Canadian Nuclear Lab
Imaging agent helps predict success of lung cancer therapy
News | Oncology Diagnostics | March 08, 2018
March 8, 2018 – Doctors contemplating the best therapy for...
Axumin PET Agent Added to NCCN Guidelines for Suspected Recurrent Prostate Cancer
News | PET Imaging | February 21, 2018
Blue Earth Diagnostics announced that Axumin (fluciclovine F 18) injection has been added to the National Comprehensive...
A Tc99m SPECT cardiac exam showing myocardial perfusion in the heart.

Technetium-99m is primarily used for the detection of cancer and to assess perfusion defects in the heart caused by heart attacks or other conditions.

Feature | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | February 08, 2018 | Dave Fornell
February 8, 2018 — The U.S.
PSMA PET-CT Clearly Differentiates Prostate Cancer from Benign Tissue

68Ga-PSMA PET/CT images showing multifocal PCA in peripheral zone with GS of 5 1 5 5 10. (A and C) Axial PET images. (B and D) Fused PET/CT images. SUVmax of lesion in B was 84.3 and that of lesion in D was 5.7. IRS was 3, and 80% of cells were stained. Credit: Senior author V Prasad, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

News | PET-CT | February 05, 2018
February 5, 2018 — Using nuclear medicine...
PET Tracer Measures Damage From Multiple Sclerosis in Mouse Models
News | PET Imaging | January 24, 2018
January 24, 2018 — The loss or damage of myelin, a cellular sheath that surrounds and insulates nerves, is the hallma
Novel PET Tracer Clearly Identifies and Tracks Bacterial Lung Infection

Representative PET/CT images of 18F-FDS and 18F-FDG in inflamed mice. Mice were inoculated with dead K. pneumoniae (10^8 CFU/mL). Imaging was performed for days 1, 2, 3 and 4 using 18F-FDG and 18F-FDS. CT images showed clear inflammation on day 2 and day 3 with corresponding high 18F-FDG uptake on PET. No significant uptake of 18F-FDS was detected for any of those 4 days. Credit: J Li et al., University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Ky.

News | PET-CT | January 22, 2018
January 22, 2018 — Researchers at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, have demonstrated that a new...
PET Tracer Gauges Effectiveness of Promising Alzheimer's Treatment

Longitudinal PET imaging with 18F-AV45. PET imaging shows the average 18F-AV45 uptake per animal group at 8 and 13 months of age. A significant interaction of genotype treatment was observed in the cortex (p = 0.0248), hippocampus (p = 0.0071) and thalamus (p = 0.0084), indicating reduced [18F]-AV45 uptake in BACE1 inhibited transgenic mice. Credit: MICA, University of Antwerp, Belgium.

News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | December 28, 2017
In the December featured basic science article in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, Belgian researchers report on the...
Michael J. Fox Foundation and Tau Consortium Developing PET Tracers for Neurodegenerative Disease
News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | October 27, 2017
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) and the Tau Consortium announced a funding partnership to...
Overlay Init