Magnetic resonance spectroscopy and cognitive function in healthy elderly men

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Subtle cognitive decrements in older people are important in terms of the associated morbidity and as a risk factor for dementia. However, their pathophysiological basis is poorly understood. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (H-1-MRS) may provide the means to investigate early changes in brain metabolite concentrations. We examined the relationships between N-acetylaspartate (NAA), choline (Cho) and creatine (Cr) metabolite ratios in a voxel in the parietal cortex and cognitive function in 88 healthy, non-demented, unmedicated men aged 65-70 years. We also used linear regression to give a value for each metabolite adjusted for the levels of the other two metabolites. Both NAA/Cr and Cho/Cr ratios correlated positively with tests of verbal memory and a verbal memory factor (e.g. NAA/Cr and Logical Memory: r = 0.24, P < 0.05). Cho/Cr ratios also correlated positively with tests of visual memory (e.g. visual reproduction: r = 0.21, P < 0.05). Adjusted Cr levels correlated negatively and significantly with tests of verbal memory and the Verbal Memory Factor. The regression analysis suggested that Cr levels better explained the correlations between NAA/Cr and Cho/Cr ratios and cognitive variables than NAA or Cho levels. These results suggest that in healthy men aged 65-70 years, metabolite levels relate to cognitive performance. Rising Cr levels may be an early marker of cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2743-2749
Number of pages7
JournalBrain
Volume125
Issue numberPt 12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002

Keywords

  • cognition
  • creatine
  • H-1-MRS
  • memory
  • spectroscopy
  • HUMAN BRAIN
  • ALZHEIMER-DISEASE
  • WHITE-MATTER
  • VOLUME LOSS
  • CREATINE
  • METABOLISM
  • AGE
  • SCHIZOPHRENIA
  • IMPAIRMENT
  • CHOLINE

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