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Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Mar;35(3):576-84. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.09.028. Epub 2013 Oct 23.

Amyloid burden and neural function in people at risk for Alzheimer's Disease.

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Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Wm. S. Middleton Memorial VA Hospital, Madison, WI, USA; Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA. Electronic address:


To determine the relationship between amyloid burden and neural function in healthy adults at risk for Alzheimer's Disease (AD), we used multimodal imaging with [C-11]Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography, [F-18]fluorodeoxyglucose, positron emission tomography , and magnetic resonance imaging, together with cognitive measurement in 201 subjects (mean age, 60.1 years; range, 46-73 years) from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention. Using a qualitative rating, 18% of the samples were strongly positive Beta-amyloid (Aβ+), 41% indeterminate (Aβi), and 41% negative (Aβ-). Aβ+ was associated with older age, female sex, and showed trends for maternal family history of AD and APOE4. Relative to the Aβ- group, Aβ+ and Aβi participants had increased glucose metabolism in the bilateral thalamus; Aβ+ participants also had increased metabolism in the bilateral superior temporal gyrus. Aβ+ participants exhibited increased gray matter in the lateral parietal lobe bilaterally relative to the Aβ- group, and no areas of significant atrophy. Cognitive performance and self report cognitive and affective symptoms did not differ between groups. Amyloid burden can be identified in adults at a mean age of 60 years and is accompanied by glucometabolic increases in specific areas, but not atrophy or cognitive loss. This asymptomatic stage may be an opportune window for intervention to prevent progression to symptomatic AD.


AD risk; Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid imaging; Cognitive function; Glucose metabolism

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