Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Regional Brain MRI Volumes and Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers: Associations with the Serial Position Effect in Older Adults
by Mace, Lauren C., M.S., University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, 2016, 61; 10294820
Abstract (Summary)

Patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease with dementia exhibit impaired serial position curves (SPC) on word-list immediate free recall tasks, showing decreased primacy (recall of words from the beginning of the list). Studies have reported the examination of SPCs using Buschke’s retention-weighted scoring (RWS: each item weighted by its serial position) of word list free recall may improve detection of early changes in cognition compared to the conventional scoring. Impaired primacy is hypothesized to reflect the pathology associated with the course of cognitive decline. Similarly, biomarkers such as hippocampal volume loss, and pathological cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) variations have proved useful in AD prediction and diagnosis. Thus, impaired primacy, specifically detected by RWS, reduced hippocampal volume and pathological CSF concentrations may denote the earliest stages of cognitive decline.

The objective of this thesis was to examine the relationship between serial position effects of free recall as measured by RWS and MRI and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers associated with cognitive decline in older adults with normal cognition. The data from seventy cognitively normal subjects enrolled in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuro-imaging Initiative who underwent cognitive testing, MRI imaging, and CSF analysis was examined. We conducted correlational and logistic regression analyses of serial position performance, hippocampal volumes and CSF pathology; other predictors included age and total intracranial volume. We did not find a significant correlation between month six RWS and hippocampal volume at baseline (BL) and month six when age and intracranial volume were controlled. Results from our secondary analyses showed month six RWS neared significance as a predictor of hippocampal asymmetry. Our results suggest that there may be an association between primacy performance and hippocampal asymmetry. These findings are consistent with others that demonstrate the contribution of the left hippocampus to discrete portions of the serial position curve which rely on secondary memory and have implications in assessing pre-clinical cognitive decline related to AD.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Moelter, Stephen
School: University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: MAI 56/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, Memory, Mild cognitive impairment, Serial position, Word recall
Publication Number: 10294820
ISBN: 978-1-369-37325-7
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