The brain metabolic signature in superagers using in vivo 1H-MRS: A pilot study

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de Godoy, L. L.
Studart-Neto, A.
Wylezinska-Arridge, M.
Tsunemi, M. H. [UNESP]
Moraes, N. C.
Yassuda, M. S.
Coutinho, A. M.
Buchpiguel, C. A.
Nitrini, R.
Bisdas, S.

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Youthful memory performance in older adults may reflect an underlying resilience to the conventional pathways of aging. Subjects having this unusual characteristic have been recently termed “superagers.” This study aimed to explore the significance of imaging biomarkers acquired by 1H-MRS to characterize superagers and to differentiate them from their normal-aging peers. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fifty-five patients older than 80 years of age were screened using a detailed neuropsychological protocol, and 25 participants, comprising 12 superagers and 13 age-matched controls, were statistically analyzed. We used state-of-the-art 3T 1H-MR spectroscopy to quantify 18 neurochemicals in the posterior cingulate cortex of our subjects. All 1H-MR spectroscopy data were analyzed using LCModel. Results were further processed using 2 approaches to investigate the technique accuracy: 1) comparison of the average concentration of metabolites estimated with Cramer-Rao lower bounds,20%; and 2) calculation and comparison of the weighted means of metabolites' concentrations. RESULTS: The main finding observed was a higher total N-acetyl aspartate concentration in superagers than in age-matched controls using both approaches (P ¼.02 and P ¼.03 for the weighted means), reflecting a positive association of total N-acetyl aspartate with higher cognitive performance. CONCLUSIONS: 1H-MR spectroscopy emerges as a promising technique to unravel neurochemical mechanisms related to cognitive aging in vivo and providing a brain metabolic signature in superagers. This may contribute to monitoring future interventional therapies to avoid or postpone the pathologic processes of aging.



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American Journal of Neuroradiology, v. 42, n. 10, p. 1790-1797, 2021.