Publications by authors named "Jamie C Blair"

7 Publications

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Cholinergic nucleus 4 grey matter density is associated with apathy in Parkinson's disease.

Clin Neuropsychol 2022 Apr 21:1-19. Epub 2022 Apr 21.

Department of Neurology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.

The generation and maintenance of goal-directed behavior is subserved by multiple brain regions that receive cholinergic inputs from the cholinergic nucleus 4 (Ch4). It is unknown if Ch4 degeneration contributes to apathy in Parkinson's disease (PD). We analyzed data from 106 pre-surgical patients with PD who had brain MRIs and completed the Frontal Systems Behavior Scales (FrSBe). Eighty-eight patients also completed the Beck Depression Inventory-2nd Edition. Cholinergic basal forebrain grey matter densities (GMD) were measured by applying probabilistic maps to T1 MPRAGE sequences processed using voxel-based morphometry methods. We used linear and hierarchical regression modelling to examine the association between Ch4 GMD and the FrSBe Apathy subscale scores. We used similar methods to assess the specificity of this association and potential associations between Ch4 target regions and apathy. Ch4 GMD ( = .021) and Ch123 GMD ( = .032) were significantly associated with Apathy subscale scores on univariate analysis. Ch4 GMD, but not Ch123 GMD, remained significantly associated with apathy when adjusting for age, sex, levodopa equivalent doses, and disease duration. Centromedial amygdala GMD, which receives cholinergic inputs from Ch4, was also associated with apathy. Ch4 GMD was not associated with depression or disinhibition, nor was it associated with executive dysfunction when adjusting for clinical and demographic variables. Ch4 GMD is specifically associated with apathy in PD. Ch4 degeneration results in cholinergic denervation of multiple cortical and limbic regions, which may contribute to the cognitive and emotional-affective processing deficits that underlie the behavioral symptoms of apathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13854046.2022.2065362DOI Listing
April 2022

Olfaction, cholinergic basal forebrain degeneration, and cognition in early Parkinson disease.

Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2021 09 27;90:27-32. Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, Division of Neuroradiology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, USA.

Introduction: Impaired olfaction and reduced cholinergic nucleus 4 (Ch4) volume both predict greater cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease (PD). We examined the relationship between olfaction, longitudinal change in cholinergic basal forebrain nuclei and their target regions, and cognition in early PD.

Methods: We analyzed a cohort of 97 PD participants from the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative with brain MRIs at baseline, 1 year, 2 years, and 4 years. Using probabilistic maps, regional grey matter density (GMD) was calculated for Ch4, cholinergic nuclei 1, 2, and 3 (Ch123), and their target regions.

Results: Baseline University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test score correlated with change in GMD of all regions of interest (all p < 0.05). Rate of change of Ch4 GMD was correlated with rate of change of Ch123 (p = 0.034), cortex (p = 0.001), and amygdala GMD (p < 0.001), but not hippocampus GMD (p = 0.38). Rate of change of Ch123 GMD was correlated with rate of change of cortex (p = 0.001) and hippocampus (p < 0.001), but not amygdala GMD (p = 0.133). In a linear regression model including change in GMD of all regions of interest and age as predictors, change in cortex GMD (βˆ= 38.2; 95 % CI: [0.47, 75.9]) and change in hippocampus GMD (βˆ= 24.8; 95 % CI: [0.80, 48.8]) were significant predictors of Montreal Cognitive Assessment score change over time.

Conclusion: Impaired olfaction is associated with degeneration of the cholinergic basal forebrain and bilateral cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus in PD. The relationship between impaired olfaction and cognitive decline may be mediated by greater atrophy of the cortex and hippocampus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parkreldis.2021.07.024DOI Listing
September 2021

Cytoarchitectonic Mapping of MRI Detects Rapid Changes in Alzheimer's Disease.

Front Neurol 2020 30;11:241. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, United States.

The clinical and pathological progression of Alzheimer's disease often proceeds rapidly, but little is understood about its structural characteristics over short intervals. This study evaluated the short temporal characteristics of the brain structure in Alzheimer's disease through the application of cytoarchitectonic probabilistic brain mapping to measurements of gray matter density, a technique which may provide advantages over standard volumetric MRI techniques. Gray matter density was calculated using voxel-based morphometry of T1-weighted MRI obtained from Alzheimer's disease patients and healthy controls evaluated at intervals of 0.5, 1.5, 3.5, 6.5, 9.5, 12, 18, and 24 months by the MIRIAD study. The Alzheimer's disease patients had 19.1% less gray matter at 1st MRI, and this declined 81.6% faster than in healthy controls. Atrophy in the hippocampus, amygdala, and basal forebrain distinguished the Alzheimer's disease patients. Notably, the CA2 of the hippocampus was found to have atrophied significantly within 1 month. Gray matter density measurements were reliable, with intraclass correlation coefficients exceeding 0.8. Comparative atrophy in the Alzheimer's disease group agreed with manual tracing MRI studies of Alzheimer's disease while identifying atrophy on a shorter time scale than has previously been reported. Cytoarchitectonic mapping of gray matter density is reliable and sensitive to small-scale neurodegeneration, indicating its use in the future study of Alzheimer's disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.00241DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7203491PMC
April 2020

Brain MRI Reveals Ascending Atrophy in Parkinson's Disease Across Severity.

Front Neurol 2019 18;10:1329. Epub 2019 Dec 18.

Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, United States.

Models which assess the progression of Lewy pathology in Parkinson's disease have proposed ascending spread in a caudal-rostral pattern. human evidence for this theory is limited, in part because there are no biomarkers that allow for direct assessment of Lewy pathology. Here, we measured neurodegeneration via MRI, an outcome which may serve as a proxy for a more direct assessment of ascending models using a combination of (1) MRI-based measures of gray matter density and (2) regions of interest (ROIs) corresponding to cortical and subcortical loci implicated in past MRI and stereological studies of Parkinson's disease. Gray matter density was measured using brain MRI voxel-based morphometry from three cohorts: (1) early Parkinson's disease, (2) more advanced Parkinson's disease and (3) healthy controls. Early Parkinson's disease patients ( = 228, mean age = 61.9 years, mean disease duration = 0.6 years) were newly diagnosed by the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI). Advanced Parkinson's disease patients ( = 136, mean age = 63.5 years, mean disease duration = 8.0 years) were collected retrospectively from a local cohort undergoing evaluation for functional neurosurgery. Control subjects ( = 103, mean age = 60.2 years) were from PPMI. Comparative analyses focused on gray matter regions ranging from deep gray subcortical structures to the neocortex. ROIs were defined with existing probabilistic cytoarchitectonic brain maps. For subcortical regions of the basal forebrain, amygdala, and entorhinal cortex, advanced Parkinson's disease patients had significantly lower gray matter density when compared to both early Parkinson's disease and healthy controls. No differences were seen in neocortical regions that are "higher" in any proposed ascending pattern. Across early and advanced Parkinson's disease, gray matter density from nearly all subcortical regions significantly decreased with disease duration; no neocortical regions showed this effect. These results demonstrate that atrophy in advanced Parkinson's patients compared to early patients and healthy controls is largely confined to subcortical gray matter structures. The degree of atrophy in subcortical brain regions was linked to overall disease duration, suggesting an organized pattern of atrophy across severity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2019.01329DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6930693PMC
December 2019

Lower volume, more impairment: reduced cholinergic basal forebrain grey matter density is associated with impaired cognition in Parkinson disease.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2019 11 7;90(11):1251-1256. Epub 2019 Jun 7.

Radiology and Medical Imaging, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

Objective: A major contributor to dementia in Parkinson disease (PD) is degeneration of the cholinergic basal forebrain. This study determined whether cholinergic nucleus 4 (Ch4) density is associated with cognition in early and more advanced PD.

Methods: We analysed brain MRIs and neuropsychological test scores for 228 newly diagnosed PD participants from the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), 101 healthy controls from the PPMI and 125 more advanced PD patients from a local retrospective cohort. Cholinergic basal forebrain nuclei densities were determined by applying probabilistic maps to MPRAGE T1 sequences processed using voxel-based morphometry methods. Relationships between grey matter densities and cognitive scores were analysed using correlations and linear regression models.

Results: In more advanced PD, greater Ch4 density was associated with Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) score (β=14.2; 95% CI=1.5 to 27.0; p=0.03), attention domain z-score (β=3.2; 95% CI=0.8 to 5.5; p=0.008) and visuospatial domain z-score (β=7.9; 95% CI=2.0 to 13.8; p=0.009). In the PPMI PD cohort, higher Ch4 was associated with higher scores on MoCA (β=9.2; 95% CI=1.9 to 16.5; p=0.01), Judgement of Line Orientation (β=20.4; 95% CI=13.8 to 27.0; p<0.001), Letter Number Sequencing (β=16.5; 95% CI=9.5 to 23.4; p<0.001) and Symbol Digit Modalities Test (β=41.8; 95% CI=18.7 to 65.0; p<0.001). These same relationships were observed in 97 PPMI PD participants at 4 years. There were no significant associations between Ch4 density and cognitive outcomes in healthy controls.

Conclusion: In de novo and more advanced PD, lower Ch4 density is associated with impaired global cognition, attention and visuospatial function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2019-320450DOI Listing
November 2019

Baseline symptoms and basal forebrain volume predict future psychosis in early Parkinson disease.

Neurology 2018 05 4;90(18):e1618-e1626. Epub 2018 Apr 4.

From the Departments of Neurology (M.J.B., S.A.S.) and Public Health Sciences (M.E.S.), University of Virginia; and Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging (J.C.B., T.J.D.), Division of Neuroradiology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville.

Objective: Determining baseline predictors of future psychosis in Parkinson disease (PD) may identify those at risk for more rapidly progressive disease, i.e., a more malignant PD subtype.

Methods: This cohort study evaluated 423 patients with newly diagnosed PD collected as part of the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative. Psychotic symptoms were assessed with the Movement Disorders Society-Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale item 1.2, which assesses hallucinations and psychosis over the past week. At baseline, participants completed the Scales for Outcomes in Parkinson's Disease-Autonomic, the REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) Screening Questionnaire, and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Cholinergic nucleus 4 (Ch4) density was calculated for 228 participants with PD and 101 healthy controls.

Results: Multivariate logistic regression adjusted for age and sex found that greater autonomic symptoms ( = 0.002), RBD ( = 0.021), and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) ( = 0.003) at baseline were associated with increased risk of reporting psychotic symptoms on ≥2 occasions. Having 2 or 3 of these baseline symptoms was associated with lower Ch4 density ( = 0.007). In a logistic regression model adjusted for age and sex, higher Ch4 gray matter density was associated with lower risk of reporting psychotic symptoms on ≥2 occasions (odds ratio 0.96 [for an increase in density of 1 unit], = 0.03).

Conclusions: This study confirms that RBD, EDS, and greater autonomic symptom burden are associated with greater risk of future psychotic symptoms in PD. Reduced Ch4 density at baseline is associated with future psychotic symptoms and a greater burden of RBD, EDS, and autonomic symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000005421DOI Listing
May 2018

The mother as hunter: significant reduction in foraging costs through enhancements of predation in maternal rats.

Horm Behav 2014 Sep 21;66(4):649-54. Epub 2014 Sep 21.

Department of Psychology, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia 23005, USA.

In previous laboratory investigations, we have identified enhanced cognition and reduced stress in parous rats, which are likely adaptations in mothers needing to efficiently exploit resources to maintain, protect and provision their immature offspring. Here, in a series of seven behavioral tests on rats, we examined a natural interface between cognition and resource gathering: predation. Experiment 1 compared predatory behavior (toward crickets) in age-matched nulliparous mothers (NULLs) and postpartum lactating mothers (LACTs), revealing a highly significant enhancement of predation in LACT females (mean = -65s in LACTs, vs. -270s in NULLs). Experiment 2 examined the possibility that LACTs, given their increased metabolic rate, were hungrier, and thus more motivated to hunt; doubling the length of time of food deprivation in NULLs did not decrease their predatory latencies. Experiments 3-5, which examined sensory regulation of the effect, indicated that olfaction (anosmia), audition (blockade with white noise), and somatosensation (trimming the vibrissae) appear to play little role in the behavioral enhancement observed in the LACTs; Experiment 6 examined the possibility that visual augmentations may facilitate the improvements in predation; testing LACTs in a 0-lux environment eliminated the behavioral advantage (increasing their latencies from -65s to -212s), which suggests that temporary augmentation to the visual system may be important, and with hormone-neural alterations therein a likely candidate for further study. In contrast, testing NULLS in the 0-lux environment had the opposite effect, reducing their latency to catch the cricket (from -270s to -200s). Finally, Experiment 7 examined the development of predatory behavior in Early-pregnant (PREG), Mid-PREG, and Late-PREG females. Here, we observed a significant enhancement of predation in Mid-PREG and Late-PREG females--at a time when maternity-associated bodily changes would be expected to diminish predation ability--relative to NULLs. Therefore, as with the increasing reports of enhancements to the maternal brain, it is apparent that meaningful behavioral adaptations occur that likewise promote the survival of the mother and her infants at a crucial stage of their lives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.09.004DOI Listing
September 2014
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