Objective: This study aims to map in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) the correlations between resting-state brain glucose utilization measured by FDG-PET and scores reflecting autonoetic consciousness in an episodic learning and recognition task.
Methods: Autonoetic consciousness, that gives a subject the conscious feeling to mentally travelling back in time to relive an event, was assessed using the Remember/Know (R/K) paradigm.
Results: AD patients provided less R responses (reflecting autonoetic consciousness) and more K ones (indicating the involvement of noetic consciousness) than healthy controls. Correct recognitions associated with a R response correlated with the metabolism of frontal areas bilaterally whereas those associated with a K response mainly correlated with the metabolism of left parahippocampal gyrus and lateral temporal cortex.
Conclusions: These data show that recollection is impaired in AD and recognition is more based on a feeling of familiarity than in controls. In addition, the findings of our correlative approach indicate that the impairment of episodic memory is mainly subserved by the dysfunction of frontal areas and of the hippocampal region.