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J Cogn Neurosci. 2013 Nov;25(11):1851-62. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00435. Epub 2013 Jun 14.

Vascular risk moderates associations between hippocampal subfield volumes and memory.

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Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.


Advanced age and vascular risk negatively affect episodic memory. The hippocampus (HC) is a complex structure, and little is known about the roles of different HC regions in age-related memory declines. Using data from an ongoing longitudinal study, we investigated whether memory functions are related to volumes of specific HC subregions (CA1-2, CA3-4/dentate gyrus, and subiculum). Furthermore, we inquired if arterial hypertension, a common age-related vascular risk factor, modifies age-related differences in HC regional volumes, concurrent memory performance, and improvement in memory over multiple administrations. Healthy adults (n = 49, 52-82 years old) completed associative recognition and free recall tasks. In grouped path models, covariance structures differed between hypertensive and normotensive participants. Whereas larger CA3-4/dentate gyrus volumes predicted greater improvement in associative memory over repeated tests regardless of vascular risk, CA1-2 volumes were associated with improvement in noun recall only in hypertensive participants. Only among hypertensive participants, CA1-2 volumes negatively related to age and CA3-4/dentate gyrus and CA1-2 volumes were associated with performance at the last measurement occasion. These findings suggest that relatively small regions of the HC may play a role in age-related memory declines and that vascular risk factors associated with advanced age may modify that relationship.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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