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Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2018 Dec 14;11:28-35. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2018.10.008. eCollection 2019 Dec.

White matter and its relationship with cognition in subjective cognitive decline.

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Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.



Subjective cognitive decline (SCD) is the earliest stage on the continuum toward Alzheimer's disease. This study examined (1) differences in white matter integrity between individuals with SCD and healthy control subjects and (2) how white matter integrity related to memory and executive function.


Diffusion tensor imaging and neuropsychological assessment data were retrieved from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative database for 30 individuals with SCD and 44 control subjects.


Results revealed significantly lower white matter integrity in individuals with SCD relative to control subjects in widespread regions, including the bilateral corticospinal tracts, superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi, fronto-occipital fasciculi, corpus callosum, forceps major and minor, hippocampi, anterior thalamic radiations, and the cerebellum. There was a widespread relationship between diffusion tensor imaging metrics and executive function in SCD, but not healthy control subjects, and no relationship with memory for either group.


Relatively lower white matter integrity in SCD may be a useful early biomarker for risk of future cognitive decline. Future research should better characterize the SCD group longitudinally and in individuals at risk for Alzheimer's disease.


Alzheimer's disease; Diffusion tensor imaging; Executive function; Memory; Subjective cognitive decline

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