Volume atrophy in medial temporal cortex and verbal memory scores in American Indians: Data from the Strong Heart Study

Published 12/01/2022

by Suchy-Dicey A, Su Y, Buchwald DS, Manson SM, Reiman EM

in Alzheimer’s & Dementia

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Introduction: Distinguishing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patient subgroups may optimize positive clinical outcomes. Cortical atrophy is correlated with memory deficits, but these associations are understudied in American Indians.

Methods: We collected imaging and cognition data in the Strong Heart Study (SHS), a cohort of 11 tribes across three regions. We processed 1.5T MRI using FreeSurfer and iterative principal component analysis. Linear mixed models estimated volumetric associations with diabetes.

Results: Over mean 7 years follow-up (N = 818 age 65-89 years), overall volume loss was 0.5% per year. Significant losses associated with diabetes were especially strong in the right hemisphere. Annualized hippocampal, parahippocampal, entorhinal atrophy were worse for men, older age, diabetes, hypertension, stroke; and associated with both encoding and retrieval memory losses.

Discussion: Our findings suggest that diabetes is an important risk factor in American Indians for cortical atrophy and memory loss. Future research should examine opportunities for primary prevention in this underserved population.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; American Indians; MRI; volumetric atrophy.

Focus Areas

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cognition
  • Strong Heart Study