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An active cognitive lifestyle has been suggested to have a protective role in the long-term maintenance of cognition. Amongst healthy older adults, more managerial or supervisory experiences in midlife are linked to a slower hippocampal atrophy rate in late life. Yet whether similar links exist in individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is not known, nor whether these differences have any functional implications. 68 volunteers from the Sydney SMART Trial, diagnosed with non-amnestic MCI, were divided into high and low managerial experience (HME/LME) during their working life. All participants underwent neuropsychological testing, structural and resting-state functional MRI. Group comparisons were performed on hippocampal volume, morphology, hippocampal seed-based functional connectivity, memory and executive function and self-ratings of memory proficiency. HME was linked to better memory function (p = 0.024), mediated by larger hippocampal volume (p = 0.025). More specifically, deformation analysis found HME had relatively more volume in the CA1 sub-region of the hippocampus (p  <  0.05). Paradoxically, this group rated their memory proficiency worse (p = 0.004), a result correlated with diminished functional connectivity between the right hippocampus and right prefrontal cortex (p  <  0.001). Finally, hierarchical regression modelling substantiated this double dissociation.


School of Exercise Science

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.