Memory and mental status correlates of modified Braak staging

Neurobiol Aging. Nov-Dec 1999;20(6):573-9. doi: 10.1016/s0197-4580(99)00063-9.


We assessed the relationships of performance on memory and mental status tests and neuropathologic stage of Alzheimer's disease as defined by Braak and Braak in 29 patients from a prospective clinicopathologic series. We predicted that memory changes would occur at an earlier Braak stage than mental status changes. Staging was accomplished by matching the topographic distribution of neurofibrillary lesions detected with tau immunocytochemistry to the best fitting diagram published by Braak and Braak. Higher Braak stages were associated with decrements in performance on both memory and mental status tests. As predicted, memory performance declined from stages II to III and mental status did not decline until stages III to IV. The association between memory and Braak stage was unchanged after adjusting for neocortical senile plaques, whereas adjustments for Braak stage eliminated the association between cognitive functioning and amyloid burden. We conclude that Braak staging provides a useful summary of Alzheimer's disease neuropathology, which is associated with both memory and mental status performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests