Cerebral Glucose Metabolism is Associated with Verbal but not Visual Memory Performance in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Samantha L. Gardener, Hamid R. Sohrabi, Kai Kai Shen, Stephanie R. Rainey-Smith, Michael Weinborn, Kristyn A. Bates, Tejal Shah, Jonathan K. Foster, Nat Lenzo, Olivier Salvado, Christoph Laske, Simon M. Laws, Kevin Taddei, Giuseppe Verdile, Ralph N. Martins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing evidence suggests that Alzheimer's disease (AD) sufferers show region-specific reductions in cerebral glucose metabolism, as measured by [18F]-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG PET). We investigated preclinical disease stage by cross-sectionally examining the association between global cognition, verbal and visual memory, and 18F-FDG PET standardized uptake value ratio (SUVR) in 43 healthy control individuals, subsequently focusing on differences between subjective memory complainers and non-memory complainers. The 18F-FDG PET regions of interest investigated include the hippocampus, amygdala, posterior cingulate, superior parietal, entorhinal cortices, frontal cortex, temporal cortex, and inferior parietal region. In the cohort as a whole, verbal logical memory immediate recall was positively associated with 18F-FDG PET SUVR in both the left hippocampus and right amygdala. There were no associations observed between global cognition, delayed recall in logical memory, or visual reproduction and 18F-FDG PET SUVR. Following stratification of the cohort into subjective memory complainers and non-complainers, verbal logical memory immediate recall was positively associated with 18F-FDG PET SUVR in the right amygdala in those with subjective memory complaints. There were no significant associations observed in non-memory complainers between 18F-FDG PET SUVR in regions of interest and cognitive performance. We observed subjective memory complaint-specific associations between 18F-FDG PET SUVR and immediate verbal memory performance in our cohort, however found no associations between delayed recall of verbal memory performance or visual memory performance. It is here argued that the neural mechanisms underlying verbal and visual memory performance may in fact differ in their pathways, and the characteristic reduction of 18F-FDG PET SUVR observed in this and previous studies likely reflects the pathophysiological changes in specific brain regions that occur in preclinical AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-672
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Brain glucose metabolism
  • cognition
  • ¹⁸F-FDG PET
  • subjective memory complaints
  • verbal memory
  • visual memory

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