British Medical Journal (2023)
This study sought to look at the relationship between pre-diabetes (that is resistance of the body tissue to insulin), depressive symptoms and performance on memory tests in 40-59 year olds. Blood samples were analysed to check how responsive the body tissues were to insulin. Scores on a depression symptoms scale was used to assess levels of depression. Results from two computerised tests were used to determine memory and thinking skills. The results found those with evidence of insulin resistance reported higher depression symptoms. Higher insulin resistance in older middle-aged adults may be particularly detrimental to some aspects of memory and thinking as performance was impaired in those aged 50-60 years. The findings show that there are interrelationships between depression, resistance to insulin and cognitive impairment.
Amy Heneghan, Feng Deng, Katie Wells, Karen Ritchie, Graciela Muniz-Terrera , Craig W Ritchie, Brian Lawlor, Lorina Naci.
Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (2022).
Mid-life lifestyle factors, including occupation, as well as engagement in physical, social and intellectual activities were evaluated. The impact of risk and protective lifestyle factors was measured in three aspects of cognition, verbal and visual memory, visual short-term memory and visuospatial function. Lifestyle activities significantly impacted cognition in mid-life. More frequent engagement in physically, socially and intellectually stimulating activities was associated with better verbal and visual memory, both at baseline and at follow-up. Critically, a significant association was also found between family history of dementia with lifestyle and visuospatial function, at follow-up. Impaired visuospatial function is one of the earliest cognitive deficits in AD. These findings suggest that modifiable lifestyle activities may offset AD risk-related cognitive decrements in mid-life, and support the targeting of stimulating lifestyle activities for the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Mario A. Parra, Graciela Muniz-Terrera, Samuel O. Danso, Karen Ritchie, Craig W Ritchie.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia (2021)
The study assessed relational (face-name) and conjunctional (object-colour) memory markers in 183 participants from the PREVENT Dementia programme. Conjunctive measures included: the 4 Mountains test, Virtual reality supermarket task, name-face association test and the relational measure: the visual short term memory binding test were used to assess cognition. There were no significant differences in performance across different risk groups.
Xulin Liu, Maria-Eleni Dounavi, Karen Ritchie, Katie Wells, Craig W. Ritchie, Li Su, Graciela Muniz-Terrera & John T. O’Brien
Journal of Neurology. 2021
Cardiovascular factors have a strong association with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and brain atrophy. However, until recently, there has been limited longitudinal research in cognitive healthy middle-aged adults investigating these links. A recent PREVENT Dementia study used data from 167 participants in the PREVENT London cohort, to investigate associations between the CAIDE (Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging, and Dementia) score and structural MRI scans at both baseline and 2-year follow up. Participants in the high-risk group (i.e., those with a CAIDE score above 6) were on average, found to have a greater rate of brain atrophy. However, to identify the specific regions and structures driving this atrophy pattern, additional analysis was conducted using voxel based morphometry (VBM).
By using VBM to build on existing findings, the current study found significant associations between risk status determined based on the CAIDE score and grey matter atrophy in several regions, including the temporal, occipital, and fusiform cortex and lingual gyrus at baseline. Longitudinally, the supramarginal gyrus, angular gyrus, precuneus, lateral occipital cortex, superior parietal lobule and cingulate gyrus demonstrated accelerated atrophy over time. Many of these regions belong to the “AD signature cortical region” and are involved in processes such as consciousness and memory. This study highlights the potential for early interventions that focus on modifiable midlife vascular risk factors.
Key terms and abbreviations:
- Atrophy= the progressive reduction in tissue
- CAIDE score =Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging, and Incidence of Dementia score; A validated midlife dementia risk score, based on several factors, including age, gender, education, blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, physical activity and APOEe4 allele carriership.
- VBM= Voxel based morphometry: An MRI technique that enables investigation of focal differences in anatomy throughout the brain
- APOEe4 allele= One of the strongest genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease
Claire Lancaster, Ivan Koychev, Jasmine Blane, Amy Chinner, Christopher, Chatham, Kirsten Taylor, Chris Hinds
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. 2019
Sofia de la Fuente Garcia, Craig W. Ritchie, and Saturnino Luz
BMJ Open. 2019
This publication lays out plans for the PREVENT Elicitation of Dialogues (PREVENT-ED) substudy. This project aims to analyse specific features of speech during conversation with PREVENT participants. The researchers seek to determine if there are any associations between changes in spoken dialogue and other risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Ultimately they want to know whether such dialogue analysis could be useful in screening for early stages of disease.