Integrity of white matter structure is related to episodic memory performance in the low-educated elderly

<div><p>ABSTRACT The low-educated elderly are a vulnerable population in whom studying the role of white matter integrity on memory may provide insights for understanding how memory declines with aging and disease. Methods: Thirty-one participants (22 women), 23 cognitively healthy and eight with cognitive impairment-no dementia, aged 80.4 ± 3.8 years, with 2.2 ± 1.9 years of education, underwent an MRI scan with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) acquisition. We verified if there were correlations between the performance on the Brief Cognitive Screening Battery (BCSB) and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) with DTI parameters. Results: The BCSB delayed recall task correlated with frontotemporoparietal connection bundles, with the hippocampal part of the cingulum bilaterally and with the right superior longitudinal fasciculus. The RAVLT learning and delayed recall scores also correlated with the hippocampal part of the cingulum bilaterally. Conclusions: Although preliminary, our study suggests that the integrity of white matter frontotemporoparietal fasciculi seems to play a role in episodic memory performance in the low-educated elderly. This finding opens opportunities to study potential targets for memory decline prevention in vulnerable populations.</p></div>