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Self-, Partner-Reported Cognitive Decline Linked to Tau

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Significant associations seen between self- and study partner-reported Cognitive Function Index and tau driven by elevated Aβ

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 30, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Individuals who self-report and whose partners report cognitive decline have greater tau, which is driven by elevated beta-amyloid (Aβ), according to a study published online May 29 in Neurology.

Michalina F. Jadick, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study to examine associations of self-reported and study partner-reported cognitive decline with tau deposition, especially among those with preclinical Alzheimer disease. Flortaucipir positron emission tomography (PET) uptake was averaged in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) and neocortex (NEO) to derive two regional tau composites. Associations between tau PET and the Cognitive Function Index (CFI) were examined among 675 cognitively unimpaired individuals.

The researchers found that greater tau was associated with greater self-reported CFI (β = 0.28 and 0.26 for MTL and NEO, respectively) and study partner-reported CFI (β = 0.28 and 0.31 for MTL and NEO, respectively). Elevated Aβ was the driver of the significant associations between both CFI measures and MTL/NEO tau PET. For both self- and study partner-reported CFI, continuous Aβ showed an independent effect on CFI in addition to MTL and NEO tau. Independent associations were seen for self-reported CFI, study partner-reported CFI, and the Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (PACC) with MTL tau; independent associations were seen for study partner-reported CFI and PACC, but not self-reported CFI, with NEO tau.

“Our study found early suspicions of memory problems by both participants and the people who knew them well were linked to higher levels of tau tangles in the brain,” coauthor Rebecca E. Amariglio, Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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