Visuospatial memory and neuroimaging correlates in mild cognitive impairment.

Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD

PubMedID: 23357899

Mitolo M, Gardini S, Fasano F, Crisi G, Pelosi A, Pazzaglia F, Caffarra P. Visuospatial memory and neuroimaging correlates in mild cognitive impairment. J Alzheimers Dis. 2013;35(1):75-90.
Spatial abilities decline in normal aging and decrease faster and earlier in Alzheimer's disease (AD), but these deficits are under investigated. The main goals of this study were to assess visuospatial memory abilities in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), in order to verify whether these tasks might be valid as the standard cognitive test to differentiate MCI individuals from normal controls and to investigate the brain structural correlates of visuospatial deficits. Twenty MCI patients and fourteen healthy elderly controls underwent an experimental visuospatial battery, which also included self-rating spatial questionnaires, and structural MRI brain imaging. Compared to healthy elderly controls, MCI patients scored significantly worse in almost all visuospatial tasks. ROC analysis showed that visuospatial tasks had an elevated discriminant power between groups (AUC >0.90). Voxel-based morphometry analysis, compared to controls, disclosed a higher level of atrophy in frontal and medio-temporal regions and a different pattern of correlation between grey matter values and visuospatial performance, with wider distributed areas of the occipital and middle temporal cortex in the map and route learning. This study indicates that visuospatial memory tests are valid tools in completing the diagnostic evaluation of MCI.