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Cingulum microstructure predicts cognitive control in older age and mild cognitive impairment

Metzler-Baddeley, Claudia, Jones, Derek K., Steventon, Jessica, Westacott, Laura, Aggleton, John Patrick and O'Sullivan, Michael 2012. Cingulum microstructure predicts cognitive control in older age and mild cognitive impairment. Journal of Neuroscience 32 (49) , pp. 17612-17619. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3299-12.2012

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Cognitive control, an important facet of human cognition, provides flexibility in response to varying behavioral demands. Previous work has focused on the role of prefrontal cortex, notably the anterior cingulate cortex. However, it is now clear that this is one node of a distributed cognitive network. In this emerging network view, structural connections are inherent elements, but their role has not been emphasized. Furthermore, lesion and functional imaging studies have contributed little knowledge about anatomical segregation, functional specialization, and behavioral importance of white matter connections. The relationship between cognitive control and microstructure of connections within the cingulum, a major white matter tract and conduit of projections to prefrontal sites, was probed in vivo in humans with diffusion MRI. Twenty healthy controls and 25 individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an early stage of age-associated cognitive deterioration, underwent cognitive testing, including several measures of cognitive control. For each individual, the anterior, middle, posterior, and parahippocampal portions of the cingulum bundle were reconstructed separately using deterministic tractography and anatomical landmarks. Microstructural variation in the left anterior cingulum was closely related to interindividual control based on verbal or symbolic rules. Errors in a task that involved maintenance of spatial rules were largely restricted to patients with MCI and were related, additionally, to right anterior cingulum microstructure. Cognitive control in MCI was also independently related to posterior parahippocampal connections. These results show how specific subpopulations of connections are critical in cognitive control and illustrate fine-grained anatomical specializations in the white matter infrastructure of this network.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 26/02/2014).
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
ISSN: 0270-6474
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 11 October 2012
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2019 10:10

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