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Loneliness, Cortical Amyloid Burden Linked

JAMA Psychiatry; ePub 2016 Nov 2; Donovan, et al

There’s a novel association of loneliness with cortical amyloid burden in cognitively normal older adults, according to a recent study, suggesting that loneliness is a neuropsychiatric symptom relevant to preclinical Alzheimer disease (AD). Researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis using data from the Harvard Aging Brain Study of 79 cognitively normal, community-dwelling participants. Participants included 43 women and 36 men with a mean (SD) age of 76.4 (6.2) years. They found:

  • 22 (28%) had positive apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOEε4) carrier status, and 25 (32%) were in the amyloid-positive group with cortical Pittsburgh Compound B-positron (PiB) distribution volume ratio greater than 1.2.
  • Controlling for age, sex, APOEε4, socioeconomic status, depression, anxiety, and social network, it was discovered that higher amyloid burden was significantly associated with greater loneliness.
  • Compared with individuals in the amyloid-negative group, those in the amyloid-positive group were 7.5-fold more likely to be classified as lonely than nonlonely.
  • Furthermore, the association of high amyloid burden and loneliness was stronger in APOEε4 carriers than in noncarriers.

Citation:

Donovan NJ, Okereke OI, Vannini P, et al. Association of higher cortical amyloid burden with loneliness in cognitively normal older adults. [Published online ahead of print November 2, 2016]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2657.