Relating anatomy to function in Alzheimer's disease: Neuropsychological profiles predict regional neuropathology 5 years later

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Article abstract

Neuropsychological profiles were assessed in a large group of nondemented control subjects (n = 261) and individuals with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) (n = 407) by subjecting their psychometric test results to a factor analysis. Nondemented control subjects were functionally homogeneous with only one factor accounting for the results. The results of the factor analysis on the very mild DAT and mild DAT groups, however, yielded a mental control/frontal factor, a memory-verbal/temporal factor, and a visuospatial/parietal factor. Forty-one of the original set of participants came to autopsy an average of 5.1 years after psychometric testing and had neurofibrillary tangles, total senile plaques, and cored senile plaques estimated from frontal, temporal, and parietal regions. The results of correlations indicated that the relative burden of cored senile plaques was systematically related to the three psychometric factors. These results suggest a connection between the specific functions as defined by neuropsychological measures and specific neuropathology occurring in associated areas of cortex.

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