Altered fMRI activation during mental rotation in those at genetic risk for Alzheimer disease

Michael A. Yassa, Guillermo Verduzco, Catherine Cristinzio, Susan Spear Bassett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: This study was undertaken to examine differential functional MRI patterns in those at genetic risk for Alzheimer disease (AD), specifically investigating parietal lobe activation, a brain region with changes noted in the early stages of AD. METHODS: This study uses functional MRI to investigate blood oxygenation level dependent changes in the parietal lobe in a high-risk sample of 18 asymptomatic offspring of autopsy-confirmed AD cases, compared to 15 matched controls. The cognitive activation paradigm was a mental rotation task, which requires individuals to rotate three-dimensional cube stimuli to judge their similarity. RESULTS: We found no differences in either reaction time or performance accuracy between groups. However, the at-risk individuals showed increases in activation in the right superior parietal lobule (BA 7), the right insula (BA 13), the right middle frontal gyrus (BA 10), and the right inferior frontal gyrus (BA 47). CONCLUSIONS: We present evidence for a compensatory mechanism for those at increased risk for Alzheimer disease (AD). This study examines and confirms parietal changes with increased risk for late-onset AD, despite normal cognitive performance. Added to the previous findings from this group, these results demonstrate the sensitivity of functional imaging measures to brain changes that are not yet reflected in cognitive performance, which may ultimately serve as an important indicator of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1898-1904
Number of pages7
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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