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Influences of Age and Length of Education on rCBF-SPECT in Healthy Elderly: Diagnostic Implications for Dementia

Author(s): Torbjörn Sundström | Anne Larsson | Lars Nyberg | Katrine Riklund

Journal: International Journal of Clinical Medicine
ISSN 2158-284X

Volume: 02;
Issue: 02;
Start page: 143;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Normal Material | Dementia | Alzheimer’s Disease | 99 mTc-HMPAO rCBF-SPECT | Brain Imaging | Neuropsychology | Regional Cerebral Blood Flow | Cognitive Reserve

Background: Few previous studies have described other than age- and gender related changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in healthy elderly. What is the influence of other common clinically relevant variables such as ache, education, MMSE, and smoking history? Purpose: To study rCBF in Swedish healthy elderly by single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and evaluate the influence on rCBF of age, gender, education, MMSE, ache, and smoking with a focus on education in relation to the ‘cognitive reserve’. Methods: Healthy subjects (n = 45, 50 -75 y), sampled from a large longitudinal aging study took part in an extensive examination of health and memory, including cognitive testing and socio-economic survey. After injection of 99 mTc-hexamethylpropylene amine oxime (HMPAO) followed by SPECT the rCBF-SPECT images were analyzed using statistical parametric mapping (SPM). Results: Age-related decreases in uptake were seen in interhemispheric and interlobar regions. There was a positive rCBF correlation with education in the inferior frontal lobe and a higher uptake in the left temporal lobe in an age-gender-matched high education subgroup. Conclusion: The localization of the age related findings except for the medial temporal lobe differs markedly from typical dementia related findings. A reduction close to interhemispheric or interlobar space should always be related to chronological age. Education seems to have an influence on basal brain function at a resting-state condition. Knowledge of normal rCBF variations for variables such as age and education should be considered when making clinical diagnosis. The findings could be interpreted as further support for the theory of cognitive reserve.
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