Recognition Memory Dysfunction Relates to Hippocampal Subfield Volume: A Study of Cognitively Normal and Mildly Impaired Older Adults.


ObjectivesThe current study examined recognition memory dysfunction and its neuroanatomical substrates in cognitively normal older adults and those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).MethodsParticipants completed the Mnemonic Similarity Task, which provides simultaneous measures of recognition memory and mnemonic discrimination. They also underwent structural neuroimaging to assess volume of medial temporal cortex and hippocampal subfields.ResultsAs expected, individuals diagnosed with MCI had significantly worse recognition memory performance and reduced volume across medial temporal cortex and hippocampal subfields relative to cognitively normal older adults. After controlling for diagnostic group differences, however, recognition memory was significantly related to whole hippocampus volume, and to volume of the dentate gyrus/CA3 subfield in particular. Recognition memory was also related to mnemonic discrimination, a fundamental component of episodic memory that has previously been linked to dentate gyrus/CA3 structure and function.DiscussionResults reveal that hippocampal subfield volume is sensitive to individual differences in recognition memory in older adults independent of clinical diagnosis. This supports the notion that episodic memory declines along a continuum within this age group, not just between diagnostic groups

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