Alzheimer’s disease pathology in a community-based sample of older adults without dementia: The MYHAT neuroimaging study

Kevin J. Sullivan, Anran Liu, Chung Chou H. Chang, Ann D. Cohen, Brian J. Lopresti, Davneet S. Minhas, Charles M. Laymon, William E. Klunk, Howard Aizenstein, Neelesh K. Nadkarni, David Loewenstein, M. Ilyas Kamboh, Mary Ganguli, Beth E. Snitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A true understanding of the distribution and functional correlates of Alzheimer’s disease pathology in dementia-free older adults requires a population-based perspective. Here we report initial findings from a sample of 102 cognitively unimpaired participants (average age 77.2 years, 54.9% women, 13.7% APOE*4 carriers) recruited for neuroimaging from a larger representative population-based cohort participating in an ongoing longitudinal study of aging, the Monongahela-Youghiogheny Healthy Aging Team (MYHAT). All participants scored < 1.0 on the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) Scale, with 8 participants (7.8%) scoring CDR = 0.5. Participants completed a positron emission tomography scan using the tracers [C-11]Pittsburgh Compound-B (PiB) and [F-18]AV-1451 to estimate amyloid and tau deposition. PiB positivity was defined on a regional basis using established standardized uptake value ratio cutoffs (SUVR; cerebellar gray matter reference), with 39 participants (38.2%) determined to be PiB(+). Health history, lifestyle, and cognitive abilities were assessed cross-sectionally at the nearest annual parent MYHAT study visit. A series of adjusted regression analyses modeled cognitive performance as a function of global PiB SUVR and [F-18]AV-1451 SUVR in Braak associated regions 1, 3/4, and 5/6. In comparison to PiB(-) participants (n = 63), PiB(+) participants were older, less educated, and were more likely to be APOE*4 carriers. Global PiB SUVR was significantly correlated with [F-18]AV-1451 SUVR in all Braak-associated regions (r =.38–0.53, p <.05). In independent models, higher Global PiB SUVR and Braak 1 [F-18]AV-1451 SUVR were associated with worse performance on a semantic interference verbal memory test. Our findings suggest that brain amyloid is common in a community-based setting, and is associated with tau deposition, but both pathologies show few associations with concurrent cognitive performance in a dementia-free sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1355-1363
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyloid
  • Neuroimaging
  • Population neuroscience
  • Tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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