Mgr. Ond?ej Bezdí?ek, Ph.D.
National institute of mental health
Cognitive predictors of neurodegeneration
Czech Science Foundation
Results from behavioral studies indicate a general age-related decline in cognition, such as speed of processing, attention, working memory, and free recall. On the other hand, there is age invariance when assessing vocabulary or semantic memory. By using in vivo neuroimaging such as magnetic resonance (MRI), we can tap neural substrates of cognitive aging linking behavior and function. Memory impairment is a more accurate predictor of early Alzheimer?s disease (AD) than atrophy of medial temporal lobe (MTL) on MRI. The goal of the present 3-year longitudinal study is to link long-term cognitive predictors (based on explicit memory tests) and rate of MTL atrophy (the first MRI scan in the first and the second in the third year) to estimate their predictive potential for the conversion of healthy aging (HA) into mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia due to AD. By this design we expect to test the hypothesis that non-invasive and cost-effective cognitive measures and MRI are efficient tools for the estimation of conversion risk of HA into neurodegenerative disease.