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Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Apr 1;57(7):761-7.

Event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation of executive control in very old individuals with mild cognitive impairment.

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  • 1School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.



Attentional control of executive cognitive function (ECF) decreases in older individuals with Alzheimer Disease (AD). In order to examine early AD-related changes in the neural substrates of ECF attentional control, we measured activation dorsolateral prefrontal (dLPFC), posterior parietal (PPC), and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in adults with mild cognitively impairment (MCI) and in cognitively normal (CN) adults.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis of brain activation in MCI (n = 8, mean age 79.5) and CN (n = 8 mean age 81.5) during increasing loads of attentional demands.


MCI and CN older adults performed with similar accuracy and reaction time. MCI had greater activation than CN in PPC (right p = .03 and left p = .05) and dlPFC areas (right p = .002 and left p = .004), while activation in ACC was similar in the two groups. Response to increasing loads of the task differed by group: MCI selectively engaged bilateral PPC (right p = .03, left p = .04), while CN subjects increased bilateral dlPFC activation (right p = .005 and left p = .02) and ACC activation (p = .04). Among MCI, greater load-related changes in PPC activity were associated with smaller load-related changes in accuracy rates (r = -.85, p = .07) and greater increases in reaction times (r = .97, p = .01). In CN subjects, load-related change in PPC activation was associated with load-related change in reaction time (r = .76, p = .02) but not with changes in accuracy rates.


PPC and dlPFC may show early functional changes associated with MCI.

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