Accelerated Brain Atrophy, Microstructural Decline and Connectopathy in Age-Related Macular Degeneration.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has recently been linked to cognitive impairment. We hypothesized that AMD modifies the brain aging trajectory, and we conducted a longitudinal diffusion MRI study on 40 participants (20 with AMD and 20 controls) to reveal the location, extent, and dynamics of AMD-related brain changes. Voxel-based analyses at the first visit identified reduced volume in AMD participants in the cuneate gyrus, associated with vision, and the temporal and bilateral cingulate gyrus, linked to higher cognition and memory. The second visit occurred 2 years after the first and revealed that AMD participants had reduced cingulate and superior frontal gyrus volumes, as well as lower fractional anisotropy (FA) for the bilateral occipital lobe, including the visual and the superior frontal cortex. We detected faster rates of volume and FA reduction in AMD participants in the left temporal cortex. We identified inter-lingual and lingual-cerebellar connections as important differentiators in AMD participants. Bundle analyses revealed that the lingual gyrus had a lower streamline length in the AMD participants at the first visit, indicating a connection between retinal and brain health. FA differences in select inter-lingual and lingual cerebellar bundles at the second visit showed downstream effects of vision loss. Our analyses revealed widespread changes in AMD participants, beyond brain networks directly involved in vision processing.





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Publication Info

Stout, Jacques A, Ali Mahzarnia, Rui Dai, Robert J Anderson, Scott Cousins, Jie Zhuang, Eleonora M Lad, Diane B Whitaker, et al. (2024). Accelerated Brain Atrophy, Microstructural Decline and Connectopathy in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Biomedicines, 12(1). pp. 147–147. 10.3390/biomedicines12010147 Retrieved from

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