. Cognitive activity is associated with amyloid deposition in normal older individuals. Human Amyloid Imaging 2011 Meeting Abstracts. 2011 Jan 15;


Participation in cognitively stimulating activities throughout life is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD), but the mechanism underlying this association is unknown. AD is characterized by accumulation of beta-amyloid (As) in areas that overlap with the default mode network, a group of brain regions active at rest and inactive during performance of many externally-driven cognitive tasks. Lifetime cognitive stimulation may affect the risk of AD through its association with these features. To investigate this question, we examined the relationship between self-reported frequency of cognitively stimulating activities across the lifespan, As deposition measured using PET imaging, and default mode network function measured using functional MRI imaging in normal older participants. Linear and whole-brain regression models revealed that less cognitive stimulation was associated with greater As deposition, and this relationship was localized within brain regions that overlapped considerably with the default mode network. Furthermore, increased lifetime cognitive activity was related to better default mode network function, and this association was driven by individuals with the most As pathology. These findings suggest that lifelong cognitive engagement may influence the development of Alzheimer's pathology and dysfunction in the DMN, prior to the onset of any cognitive decline. Cognitive activity appears to prevent or slow deposition of As and also plays a protective role in supporting the connectivity of brain networks influenced by As deposition.


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  1. Miami: HAI Amyloid Imaging Conference Abstracts