Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2018 Jan 16;33(1):176-184. Epub 2017 Mar 16.
Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
Objective: To characterize metabolic correlates of working memory impairment in clinically defined subtypes of early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
Background: Established models of working memory suggest a key role for frontal lobe function, yet the association in Alzheimer's disease between working memory impairment and visuospatial and language symptoms suggests that temporoparietal neocortical dysfunction may be responsible.
Methods: Twenty-four patients with predominantly early-onset Alzheimer's disease were clinically classified into groups with predominantly amnestic, multidomain or visual deficits. Patients underwent neuropsychological evaluation focused on the domains of episodic and working memory, T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and brain fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography. Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography data were analysed by using a region-of-interest approach.
Results: Patients with multidomain and visual presentations performed more poorly on tests of working memory compared with amnestic Alzheimer's disease. Working memory performance correlated with glucose metabolism in left-sided temporoparietal, but not frontal neocortex. Carriers of the apolipoprotein E4 gene showed poorer episodic memory and better working memory performance compared with noncarriers.
Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that working memory changes in early-onset Alzheimer's disease are related to temporoparietal rather than frontal hypometabolism and show dissociation from episodic memory performance. They further support the concept of subtypes of Alzheimer's disease with distinct cognitive profiles due to prominent neocortical dysfunction early in the disease course. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.