Mnemonic strategy training partially restores hippocampal activity in patients with mild cognitive impairment

Authors

  • Benjamin M. Hampstead,

    Corresponding author
    1. Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence, Research Service Line, Atlanta VAMC, Decatur, Georgia
    2. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
    • 1441 Clifton Rd NE Room 150, Atlanta, GA 30087, USA
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  • Anthony Y. Stringer,

    1. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
    2. Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Randall F. Stilla,

    1. Department of Neurology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Michelle Giddens,

    1. Department of Neuroscience Program, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • K. Sathian

    1. Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence, Research Service Line, Atlanta VAMC, Decatur, Georgia
    2. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
    3. Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
    4. Department of Neurology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
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    • Author Contributions: Each author provided significant intellectual contribution to warrant authorship and declares that he/she has seen and approved this manuscript. Dr. Benjamin M. Hampstead had full access to all the data in the study; he and Dr. K. Sathian had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.


  • The contents of this manuscript do not represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.

Abstract

Learning and memory deficits typify patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and are generally attributed to medial temporal lobe dysfunction. Although the hippocampus is perhaps the most commonly studied neuroanatomical structure in these patients, there have been few attempts to identify rehabilitative interventions that facilitate its functioning. Here, we present results from a randomized, controlled, single-blind study in which patients with MCI and healthy elderly controls (HEC) were randomized to either three sessions of mnemonic strategy training (MS) or a matched-exposure control group (XP). All participants underwent pre- and posttraining fMRI scanning as they encoded and retrieved object–location associations. For the current report, fMRI analyses were restricted to the hippocampus, as defined anatomically. Before training, MCI patients showed reduced hippocampal activity during both encoding and retrieval, relative to HEC. Following training, the MCI MS group demonstrated increased activity during both encoding and retrieval. There were significant differences between the MCI MS and MCI XP groups during retrieval, especially within the right hippocampus. Thus, MS facilitated hippocampal functioning in a partially restorative manner. We conclude that cognitive rehabilitation techniques may help mitigate hippocampal dysfunction in MCI patients. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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