Atypical cortical hierarchy in Aβ-positive older adults and its reflection in spontaneous speech

TitleAtypical cortical hierarchy in Aβ-positive older adults and its reflection in spontaneous speech
Publication TypeArticle de revue
Année de publication2024
AuthorsHe, Rui, Jalal Al-Tamimi, Gonzalo Sanchez-Benavides, Guillermo Montana-Valverde, Juan Domingo Gispert, Oriol Grau-Rivera, Marc Suarez-Calvet, Carolina Minguillon, Karine Fauria, Arcadi Navarro, and Wolfram Hinzen
JournalBrain Research
Start Page1
Date de publication02/2024
KeywordsAβ amyloid, Cognitive decline, Cortical gradient, Dementia, Functional connectivity

Abnormal deposition of Aβ amyloid is an early neuropathological marker of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), arising


long ahead of clinical symptoms. Non-invasive measures of associated early neurofunctional changes, together with easily accessible behavioral readouts of these changes, could be of great clinical benefit. We pursued this aim by investigating large-scale cortical gradients of functional connectivity with functional MRI, which capture the hierarchical integration of cortical functions, together with acoustic-prosodic features from spontaneous


speech, in cognitively unimpaired older adults with and without Aβ positivity (total N = 188). We predicted distortions of the cortical hierarchy associated with prosodic changes in the Aβ + group. Results confirmed substantially altered cortical hierarchies and less variability in these in the Aβ + group, together with an increase


in quantitative prosodic measures, which correlated with gradient variability as well as digit span test scores. Overall, these findings confirm that long before the clinical stage and objective cognitive impairment, increased


risk of cognitive decline as indexed by Aβ accumulation is marked by neurofunctional changes in the cortical


hierarchy, which are related to automatically extractable speech patterns and alterations in working memory functions.