Background. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is often a precursor to Alzheimer disease. Little research has examined the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation in patients with MCI, and the relevant neural mechanisms have not been explored. The authors previously showed the behavioral efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation using mnemonic strategies for face-name associations in patients with MCI. Here, the authors used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test whether there were training-specific changes in activation and connectivity within memory-related areas. Methods. A total of 6 patients with amnestic, multidomain MCI underwent pretraining and posttraining fMRI scans, during which they encoded 90 novel face-name pairs and completed a 4-choice recognition memory test immediately after scanning. Patients were taught mnemonic strategies for half the face-name pairs during 3 intervening training sessions. Results. Training-specific effects comprised significantly increased activation within a widespread cerebral cortical network involving medial frontal, parietal, and occipital regions; the left frontal operculum and angular gyrus; and regions in the left lateral temporal cortex. Increased activation common to trained and untrained stimuli was found in a separate network involving inferior frontal, lateral parietal, and occipital cortical regions. Effective connectivity analysis using multivariate, correlation-purged Granger causality analysis revealed generally increased connectivity after training, particularly involving the middle temporal gyrus and foci in the occipital cortex and the precuneus. Conclusion. The authors' findings suggest that the effectiveness of explicit-memory training in patients with MCI is associated with training-specific increases in activation and connectivity in a distributed neural system that includes areas involved in explicit memory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology