Autobiographical Memory Fluency Reductions in Cognitively Unimpaired Middle-Aged and Older Adults at Increased Risk for Alzheimer's Disease Dementia

Matthew D. Grilli, Aubrey A. Wank, Matthew J. Huentelman, Lee Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Recent research has revealed that cognitively unimpaired older adults who are at higher risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia often exhibit subtle cognitive alterations in their neuropsychological profiles. Emerging evidence suggests that autobiographical memory, which is memory for personal events and knowledge, may be sensitive to early AD-related cognitive alterations. In the present study, we investigated whether the rapid generation of autobiographical memory category exemplars, a retrieval process that taxes the neural network that is vulnerable to early AD, is compromised in cognitively unimpaired middle-aged and older carriers of the e4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE4), which increases risk for AD dementia. Methods: In addition to standard neuropsychological tests, we administered a fluency task that requires generating exemplars for two types of autobiographical memory, namely episodic memories and personal semantics, to a group of cognitively unimpaired middle-aged and older adults (n = 45) enriched with APOE4 carriers (n = 20). Results: While no APOE4 deficits were found on standard neuropsychological tests, episodic and personal semantic exemplar generation was reduced in the APOE4 group. Discussion: Autobiographical memory aberrations associated with a higher risk for AD are evident in fluency and affect both episodic memory and personal semantics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-915
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Volume27
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 29 2021

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Autobiographical memory
  • Cognitive aging
  • Episodic memory
  • Medial temporal lobe
  • Semantic memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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