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Influences of chronological age and length of education on rCBF-SPECT patternsin a healthy sample: Diagnostic implications
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Radiation Sciences.
Manuscript (Other academic)
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-5082OAI: diva2:144451
Available from: 2006-04-19 Created: 2006-04-19 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Human brain function evaluated with rCBF-SPECT: memory and pain related changes and new diagnostic possibilities in Alzheimer’s disease
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human brain function evaluated with rCBF-SPECT: memory and pain related changes and new diagnostic possibilities in Alzheimer’s disease
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this doctoral thesis was to study the influence of memory, pain, age and education on the regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), i.e. brain function, in early Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in chronic neck pain patients in comparison to healthy controls and in healthy elderly per se. This was done by optimizing single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) as a method to study rCBF with the tracer Technetium-99m (99mTc) hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime (HMPAO) and by matching all image data to a brain atlas before evaluation. The rCBF-SPECT was evaluated and developed to obtain higher diagnostic accuracy in AD and in chronic neck pain patients it was used to study basic pain related cerebral processes in chronic pain of different origin. A new semimanual registration method, based on fiducial marker, suitable for investigations with low spatial resolution was developed. The method was used to reconstruct images with an improved attenuation and scatter correction by using an attenuation-map calculated from the patients' previously acquired CT images.

The influence of age and education on rCBF was evaluated with statistical parametric mapping, SPM in healthy elderly. The main findings were age related changes in rCBF in regions close to interlobar and interhemispheric space but not in regions typically affected in early AD, except for the medial temporal lobe. The theory of a 'cognitive reserve' in individuals with a longer education was supported with findings in the lateral temporal lobe, a region related to semantic memory, and in the frontal lobe.

A cross-sectional study of chronic neck pain patients showed extensive rCBF changes in coping related regions in a non-traumatic pain patients compared to both healthy and a pain group with a traumatic origin, i.e. whiplash syndrome. The whiplash group displayed no significant differences in rCBF in comparison with the healthy controls. This suggests different pain mechanisms in these groups.

The AD-patients showed a significantly lower rCBF in temporoparietal regions including left hippocampus. These changes were associated to episodic memory performance, and especially to face recognition. The diagnostic sensitivity for AD was high. The face recognition test (episodic memory) was used in AD patients to improve the sensitivity of method, i.e. memory-provoked rCBF-SPECT (MP-SPECT). The results were compared to healthy controls and the reductions of rCBF in temporoparietal regions were more pronounced in mild AD during provocation. Memory provocation increased the sensitivity of AD-related rCBF changes at group level. If a higher sensitivity for AD at the individual level is verified in future studies, a single MP-SPECT study might then be of help to set diagnosis earlier.

In conclusion rCBF in temporoparietal regions are associated to an impaired episodic memory in early AD. Changes in these regions do not have a strong connection to chronological age. The diagnostic sensitivity of rCBF-SPECT in AD is high and there is a potentially higher sensitivity if memory provoked investigations are used. The findings in this thesis have given an increased knowledge of underlying cerebral pain processing in non-traumatic and traumatic (whiplash) neck pain. Preliminary results supporting the theory of 'cognitive reserve' by showing a correlation between long education and preserved rCBF was found in healthy elderly.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2006. 74 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1016
brain imaging, rCBF, SPECT, early diagnosis, brain atlas, HMPAO, Alzheimer´s disease, Whiplash, neuropsychological function, episodic memory
National Category
Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-761 (URN)91-7264-051-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-05-05, sal 260 röntgen, 3A 2tr, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2006-04-19 Created: 2006-04-19 Last updated: 2012-04-03Bibliographically approved

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