Remembering the location of objects in the environment is both important in everyday life and difficult for patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), a clinical precursor to Alzheimer's disease. To test the hypothesis that memory impairment for object location in aMCI reflects hippocampal dysfunction, we used an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm to compare patients with aMCI and healthy elderly controls (HEC) as they encoded 90 ecologically relevant object-location associations (OLAs). Two additional OLAs, repeated a total of 45 times, served as control stimuli. Memory for these OLAs was assessed following a 1-h delay. The groups were well matched on demographics and brain volumetrics. Behaviorally, HEC remembered significantly more OLAs than did aMCI patients. Activity differences were assessed by contrasting activation for successfully encoded Novel stimuli vs. Repeated stimuli. The HEC demonstrated activity within object-related (ventral visual stream), spatial location-related (dorsal visual stream), and feature binding-related cortical regions (hippocampus and other memory-related regions) as well as in frontal cortex and associated subcortical structures. Activity in most of these regions correlated with memory test performance. Although the aMCI patients demonstrated a similar activation pattern, the HEC showed significantly greater activity within each of these regions. Memory test performance in aMCI patients, in contrast to the HEC, was correlated with activity in regions involved in sensorimotor processing. We conclude that aMCI patients demonstrate widespread cerebral dysfunction, not limited to the hippocampus, and rely on encoding-related mechanisms that differ substantially from healthy individuals.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|State||Published - Jul 2011|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience