Rates of age- and amyloid β-associated cortical atrophy in older adults with superior memory performance

Christa Dang, Nawaf Yassi, Karra D. Harrington, Ying Xia, Yen Ying Lim, David Ames, Simon M. Laws, Martha Hickey, Stephanie Rainey-Smith, Hamid R. Sohrabi, James D. Doecke, Jurgen Fripp, Olivier Salvado, Peter J. Snyder, Michael Weinborn, Victor L. Villemagne, Christopher C. Rowe, Colin L. Masters, Paul Maruff*, The AIBL Research Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: Superior cognitive performance in older adults may reflect underlying resistance to age-associated neurodegeneration. While elevated amyloid β (Aβ) deposition (Aβ+) has been associated with increased cortical atrophy, it remains unknown whether “SuperAgers” may be protected from Aβ-associated neurodegeneration. Methods: Neuropsychologically defined SuperAgers (n = 172) and cognitively normal for age (n = 172) older adults from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle study were case matched. Rates of cortical atrophy over 8 years were examined by SuperAger classification and Aβ status. Results: Of the case-matched SuperAgers and cognitively normal for age older adults, 40.7% and 40.1%, respectively, were Aβ+. Rates of age- and Aβ-associated atrophy did not differ between the groups on any measure. Aβ− individuals displayed the slowest rates of atrophy. Discussion: Maintenance of superior memory in late life does not reflect resistance to age- or Aβ-associated atrophy. However, those individuals who reached old age without cognitive impairment nor elevated Aβ deposition (i.e. Aβ−) displayed reduced rates of cortical atrophy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-575
Number of pages10
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Memory
  • Neurodegeneration
  • β-amyloid


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