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  Why musical memory can be preserved in advanced Alzheimer’s disease

Jacobsen, J.-H., Stelzer, J., Fritz, T. H., Chételat, G., La Joie, R., & Turner, R. (2015). Why musical memory can be preserved in advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Brain, 138(8), 2438-2450. doi:10.1093/brain/awv135.

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Jacobsen, Jörn-Henrik1, 2, Author
Stelzer, Johannes1, 3, 4, Author           
Fritz, Thomas Hans5, 6, 7, Author           
Chételat, Gael8, 9, 10, 11, Author
La Joie, Renaud8, 9, 10, 11, Author
Turner, Robert1, Author           
1Department Neurophysics, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634550              
2Intelligent Systems Lab (ISLA), University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, ou_persistent22              
3Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, Denmark, ou_persistent22              
4Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, ou_persistent22              
5Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634549              
6Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
7Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music, Ghent University, Belgium, ou_persistent22              
8Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale, Caen, France, ou_persistent22              
9Université de Caen, France, ou_persistent22              
10École pratique des hautes études (EPHE), Caen, France, ou_persistent22              
11University Hospital Center (CHU), Caen, France, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Musical memory; Preservation; Ultra-high-field neuroimaging
 Abstract: Musical memory is considered to be partly independent from other memory systems. In Alzheimer’s disease and different types of dementia, musical memory is surprisingly robust, and likewise for brain lesions affecting other kinds of memory. However, the mechanisms and neural substrates of musical memory remain poorly understood. In a group of 32 normal young human subjects (16 male and 16 female, mean age of 28.0 ± 2.2 years), we performed a 7 T functional magnetic resonance imaging study of brain responses to music excerpts that were unknown, recently known (heard an hour before scanning), and long-known. We used multivariate pattern classification to identify brain regions that encode long-term musical memory. The results showed a crucial role for the caudal anterior cingulate and the ventral pre-supplementary motor area in the neural encoding of long-known as compared with recently known and unknown music. In the second part of the study, we analysed data of three essential Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in a region of interest derived from our musical memory findings (caudal anterior cingulate cortex and ventral pre-supplementary motor area) in 20 patients with Alzheimer’s disease (10 male and 10 female, mean age of 68.9 ± 9.0 years) and 34 healthy control subjects (14 male and 20 female, mean age of 68.1 ± 7.2 years). Interestingly, the regions identified to encode musical memory corresponded to areas that showed substantially minimal cortical atrophy (as measured with magnetic resonance imaging), and minimal disruption of glucose-metabolism (as measured with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography), as compared to the rest of the brain. However, amyloid-β deposition (as measured with 18F-flobetapir positron emission tomography) within the currently observed regions of interest was not substantially less than in the rest of the brain, which suggests that the regions of interest were still in a very early stage of the expected course of biomarker development in these regions (amyloid accumulation → hypometabolism → cortical atrophy) and therefore relatively well preserved. Given the observed overlap of musical memory regions with areas that are relatively spared in Alzheimer’s disease, the current findings may thus explain the surprising preservation of musical memory in this neurodegenerative disease.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2014-10-282015-03-092015-06-032015-08-01
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1093/brain/awv135
PMID: 26041611
Other: Epub 2015
 Degree: -



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Title: Brain
  Other : Brain
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: -
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 138 (8) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 2438 - 2450 Identifier: ISSN: 0006-8950
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925385135