SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • cognition;
  • dementia;
  • earthquake;
  • emotional memory;
  • lacunar infarct

Abstract

Objective:  It is suggested that thalami, basal ganglia, putamina and caudate heads play a crucial role in strong emotion such as the fear of serious earthquake. The aim of this study was to elucidate the radiographic findings (mainly the lacunae) in these regions, mental abilities and the extent of the activities of daily livings (ADL) of moderately demented patients who could recognize the Niigata Ken (prefecture) Chuetsu earthquake 2004 Japan.

Methods:  In patients with moderate dementia, mainly Alzheimer’s disease, who could recognize the Niigata Ken (prefecture) Chuetsu earthquake 2004 in Niigata prefecture in Japan, their radiographic findings regarding thalami, basal ganglia, putamina and caudate heads were investigated by counting the numbers of lacunae using magnetic resonance imaging. In addition, their mental abilities were examined by Mini-Mental Examination Score and Hasegawa Dementia Scale–Revised. Their activities of daily living were also assessed.

Results:  The patients who could recognize the earthquake have statistically fewer lacunae in the thalami, basal ganglia, putamina and caudate heads, than those who could not (P < 0.01 by Student’s t-test). This analysis revealed that the patients who could recognize the earthquake have statistically significant higher scores in both Mini-Mental Examination Score, Hasegawa Dementia Scale–Revised (P < 0.05 by Student’s t-test) and activities of daily living (P < 0.01 by Student’s t-test). However, statistical significance was not obtained regarding education between two groups.

Conclusion:  Thalami and the structures around them such as basal ganglia, putamina and caudate heads play an important role in emotion and cognition. Therefore, we concluded that numbers of lacunae might be a valuable marker in evaluating the cognitive abilities of the demented patients.