Event Abstract

Age-related decline in white matter organisation:
Relationship to global cognitive changes in a longitudinal study

  • 1 University of Newcastle, School of Psychology, Faculty of Science and IT, Australia
  • 2 University of Newcastle, Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health, Australia
  • 3 Hunter Medical Research Institute, Australia
  • 4 University of Newcastle, School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health, Australia

Background: In cross-sectional studies, older adults tend have poorer microstructural organisation of white matter pathways, poorer cerebrovascular health as well as lower performance on a range of cognitive tasks when compared to young adults. However, the degree to which the age-related decline in white matter microstructural organisation is related to differences in cerebrovascular health and responsible for global cognitive decline has not been determined. In the present study, we examine changes in white matter microstructural organisation over a 24-month interval and whether the rate of change is associated with decline in cerebrovascular health and reduction in global cognitive functioning.

Methods: Cognitively intact older adults (48-82 years) completed a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment and MRI scanning that included T1 structural, T2 weighted FLAIR and diffusion-weighted imaging sequences. Microstructural white matter changes were calculated using DTI analyses. Changes in white matter macrostructure were also determined by measuring a change in white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume between testing intervals. Testing was repeated at 18-30 months with identical parameters.

Results & Discussion: At follow-up, there was an increase in WMH volume and a decline in measures of white matter microstructure. However, the rate of change in these two measures was not correlated, suggesting different underlying processes. We examine relationship of change in both measures with decline in Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores. We also examine whether the rate of decline in white matter structure is related to cerebrovascular health at pre-test and rate of decline in cerebrovascular health changes.

Keywords: Diffusion Tensor Imaging, White matter hyperintensity, Montreal Cognitive Assessment, cerebrovascular health, longitudinal study

Conference: ACNS-2013 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference, Clayton, Melbourne, Australia, 28 Nov - 1 Dec, 2013.

Presentation Type: Poster

Topic: Other

Citation: Rennie JL, Jolly TA, Bateman GA, Michie PT, Levi CR, Parsons MW and Karayanidis F (2013). Age-related decline in white matter organisation:
Relationship to global cognitive changes in a longitudinal study. Front. Hum. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: ACNS-2013 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2013.212.00085

Received: 25 Sep 2013; Published Online: 25 Nov 2013.

* Correspondence: Prof. Frini Karayanidis, University of Newcastle, School of Psychology, Faculty of Science and IT, Newcastle, NSW, 2308, Australia, Frini.Karayanidis@newcastle.edu.au

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