Reduced [11C]PiB Uptake in Cognitively Active Elderly

Elderly with lowest levels of cognitive activity have [11C]PiB uptake similar to Alzheimer's patients

TUESDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly individuals who keep their brains active through activities such as reading, writing, and playing games have reduced uptake of carbon 11-labeled Pittsburg Compound B ([11C]PiB), according to a study published online Jan. 23 in the Archives of Neurology.

Susan M. Landau, Ph.D., from the University of California in Berkeley, and colleagues measured β-amyloid deposition with positron emission tomography using [11C]PiB in 65 healthy older subjects (mean age, 76.1 years), 10 patients with Alzheimer's disease (mean age, 74.8 years), and 11 young subjects (mean age, 24.5 years). Self-report scales were used to evaluate participation in physical exercise as well as cognitive activities, including reading, writing, and playing games.

The researchers found significantly reduced [11C]PiB uptake in the healthy older subjects who reported greater participation in cognitive activities, particularly in early and middle life. [11C]PiB uptake in older participants in the highest tertile for cognitive activity was similar to that of the young controls, while [11C]PiB uptake in those with the lowest tertile for cognitive activity was comparable to that of patients with Alzheimer's disease. There was no association seen for physical activity and [11C]PiB uptake.

"We report a direct association between cognitive activity and [11C]PiB uptake, suggesting that lifestyle factors found in individuals with high cognitive engagement may prevent or slow deposition of β-amyloid, perhaps influencing the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease," the authors write.

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