PURPOSE - To evaluate how flow territory asymmetry and/or the distribution of blood through collateral pathways may adversely affect the brain's ability to respond to age-related changes in brain function. These patterns have been investigated in cerebrovascular disease; however, here we evaluated how flow-territory asymmetry related to memory generally in older adults.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - A multi-faceted MRI protocol, including vessel-encoded arterial spin labeling capable of flow territory mapping, was applied to assess how flow territory asymmetry; memory performance (CERAD-Immediate Recall); cortical cerebral blood flow (CBF), white matter lesion (WML) count, and cortical gray matter volume were related in older healthy control volunteers (HC; n = 15; age = 64.5 ± 7 years) and age-matched mild cognitive impairment volunteers (MCI; n = 7; age = 62.7 ± 3.7 years).
RESULTS - An inverse relationship was found between memory performance and flow territory asymmetry in HC volunteers (P = 0.04), which reversed in MCI volunteers (P = 0.04). No relationship was found between memory performance and cortical tissue volume in either group (P > 0.05). Group-level differences for HC volunteers performing above versus below average on CERAD-I were observed for flow territory asymmetry (P < 0.02) and cortical volume (P < 0.05) only.
CONCLUSION - Findings suggest that flow territory asymmetry may correlate more sensitively with memory performance than CBF, atrophy and WML count in older adults.
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