Indexed on: 14 Jul '18Published on: 14 Jul '18Published in: NeuroImage: Clinical
Poor executive functioning increases risk of decline in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Executive functioning can be conceptualized within the framework of working memory. While some components are responsible for maintaining representations in working memory, the central executive is involved in the manipulation of information and creation of new representations. We aimed to examine the neural correlates of these components of working memory using a maintenance working memory and visuospatial reasoning task. Twenty-five patients with amnestic MCI and 19 elderly controls (EC) completed functional MRI during reasoning and maintenance working memory tasks. In MCI, maintenance working memory was associated with hypoactivation of right frontoparietal regions and hyperactivation of left prefrontal cortex, coupled with attenuation of default mode network (DMN) relative to EC. During reasoning, MCI showed hypoactivation of parietal regions, coupled with attenuation of anterior DMN and increased deactivation of posterior DMN relative to EC. Comparing the reasoning task to the maintenance working memory task yields the central executive. In MCI, the central executive showed hypoactivation of right parietal lobe and increased deactivation of posterior DMN compared to EC. Consistent with prior work on executive functioning, MCI show different neural circuitry during visuospatial reasoning, including changes to both task positive frontoparietal regions, as well as to deactivation patterns within the DMN. Both hyperactivation of task positive networks and increased deactivation of DMN may be compensatory.