Neuropsychological and cerebral metabolic function in early vs late onset dementia of the Alzheimer type

Neuropsychologia. 1987;25(5):807-16. doi: 10.1016/0028-3932(87)90118-7.


Differences in age at onset of dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) have been associated with differences in cognitive impairments and course of the disease. To investigate this, we examined cerebral metabolism and cognitive performance in early and late onset DAT patients, who had equivalent duration and severity of illness. Regional cerebral metabolic rates for glucose were measured in the resting state by positron emission tomography using [18F]2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose. A cross-sectional analysis showed no significant differences between the two groups in performance on neuropsychological tests, but the early onset patients showed significantly more parietal metabolic dysfunction than did the late onset patients. Longitudinal analysis showed no significant differences between early and late onset patients in rate of cognitive decline over a mean interval of 19 months. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis of different subgroups in DAT based on age at onset, nor suggest a faster rate of cognitive decline in younger patients.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Concept Formation / physiology
  • Deoxyglucose / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Deoxyglucose