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The relationship between personality changes and amyloid-β in cognitively normal adults

Stark, Danielle (2018) The relationship between personality changes and amyloid-β in cognitively normal adults. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder accounting for 60% to 80% of all dementia cases. AD neuropathology is characterized by both intracellular tau and extracellular amyloid-β (Aβ), the latter of which is thought to accumulate a decade or more before onset of clinical symptomology. Cognitive hallmarks of disease progression include initial mild cognitive impairment followed by progressive decline in cognition, memory, and routine daily functioning. Epidemiologic studies suggest some premorbid personality traits are a risk factor for incident AD and may begin before clinical onset. Two hypotheses have emerged to explain this association: The Risk Factor hypothesis posits that personality is a true pre-morbid risk factor independent of early disease pathology, while the Reverse Causality hypothesis holds that personality reflects behavior change as an early indicator of sub-clinical AD neuropathology. The aim of this research was to evaluate the Reverse Causality hypothesis by evaluating the cross-sectional relationship between baseline Aβ and personality scores and test whether Aβ levels predict change in personality in cognitively normal older adults.
Data were collected between 2010 and 2017 from two University of Pittsburgh imaging studies. All individuals completed a baseline 11C Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB)-PET scan measuring brain Aβ deposition and NEOTM-FFI-3 personality assessment (N=106). Among individuals with at least one APOE allele variant, PiB(+) status was significantly associated with higher neuroticism score F(3,17)= 4.918, p=.040, and lower conscientiousness score, F(3,17)=13.665, p= .002. In the longitudinal model, only openness (β =-0.271, p=0.010) and conscientiousness (β = -0.225, p=0.031) were associated with baseline age and there was no association between length of follow-up and personality change. The data suggest that there is no longitudinal association between baseline PiB status and self-reported personality change in non-demented older adults. Results are inconsistent with the Reverse Causality hypothesis indicating that personality change may not be a sufficient indicator of subclinical AD neuropathology. This research has important public health significance as it adds to better understanding of brain Aβ and personality changes in older adults at risk of developing AD, which may eventually lead to new early interventions.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Stark, Danielledld61@pitt.edudld61
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRosso, Andreaalr143@pitt.edualr143UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberSnitz, Bethbes9@pitt.edubes9UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberNadkarni, Neeleshnkn3@pitt.edunkn3UNSPECIFIED
Date: 2018
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 50
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alzheimer's Disease, Amyloid, Personality, Personality change, Cognitive Impairment
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 19:05
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2019 19:05


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